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Full text of "Captain Canot, or, Twenty years of an African slaver :"

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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
in 2013 



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PARKYNS' ADVENTURES IN ABYSSINIA 
D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 346 <fe 348 Broadway 

HAVE JUST PUBLISHED 

LIFE IN ABYSSINIA, 

Being: the Personal Narrative of an Englishman, a long resident in that 

Country. 

By MANSFIELD PARKYNS, Esq. 

With Illustrations. 2 vols. l2mo. Price, 82 50. Cloth. 



LITERARY CRITICISMS. 



" Of one thing we are convinced, and that is, that few that take up " Life in 
Abyssinia," will lay it down without reading it through, and without exclaiming 
when they come to the end " what an amusing book this is, and what an agreeable 
savage is Mansfield Parkyns." — Blackwood's Magazine. 

" Since the appearance of " Typee and Omoo," we have seen no more agreeable 
volumes of travel than those of Mr. Parkyns."— ^i-«. Post. 

"Mr. Mansfield Parkyns is no tourist, but a genuine traveller. In acquaintance 
with Eastern languages and manners he is a Buckhardt ; his liking for Natural History 
and assiduity as a collector, reminds us of Waterton ; while in his passion for the 
chase, and occasional introduction of elephants, giraffes, and lions, he bears an obvious 
likeness to Campbell or Gordon Camming."— Z>«^y^m Magazine. 

"Remarkably entertaining and interesting volumes, brimfull of adventures and 
life. We have read them with perfect gusto, and cordially join "Blackwood's recom- 
mendation." — Boston Atlas. 

"A story of three years in Abyssinian life, by one so keen in observation and fond 
of adventure as Mr. Parkyns could not but promise a great attraction ; and no one 
who opens this book will lay it down in disappointment lie sketches the incidents 
of his travels with great distinctness and vividness and portrays character, wherever 
he meets it, capitally." — 2^. Y. Courier. 

"Tho author appears to have become thoroughly naturalized among the singular 
people with whom it was his lot to dwell, and tells the story of his adventures with a 
liveliness and freedom from reserve that are extremely captivating." — Joxir. of Com. 

"Dullness certainly has no share in Mr. Parkyns' composition — it is a cajital 
book."— 17^, S. Gazette. 

"This is no ordinary production."— J Z6any Argtis. 

•' Attractive as a romance while they have the merit of usefulness." — Boston Conr. 

" The most interdsting book of travel issued from the press in many years."— P/tt7<i. 
Courier. 

" In every respect the volumes are truly attractive."— -4m€rzcan Courier. 

" "We have been highly amused, and, we must say, instructed, in the perusal of Mr. 
Parkyn's adventures."— ^wjfaio Democrat. 

" We do not hesitate to commend the book to our readers— it will amply repay 
their attention."— Zfar^/orti Times. 

" The work fulfils all the author promises."- CAri^ton Register. 

"To all who aro in any kind of trouble from hot weather, bad temper, unpaid bills, 
and the like annoyances, we would recommend this book."— Prorirfcnce Journal. 

" The style is pleasant and many of the incidents are piquant and startling."— i?.H7t<;,'j 
t€r American. 

" Theee are two delightful volumes of travel, fresh, racy and glowing with life."- 
Com. Advertiser. 



D. APPLETON f CO:S PUBLICATIONS. 

CAPT. FOOTE'S NEW AND HIGHLY INTERESTING WORK. 



Africa and the American Flag. 

BY COMMANDER ANDREW H. FOOTE, 

Lieut. Commanding U. S. Brig " Perry ^"^ on the Coast of Africa, 
A. D. 1850-51. 

ILLUSTRATED WITH HANDSOMELY TINTED LITHOGRAPHIC PLATES. 

One Volume, 12mo. 379 pages. Price $1 50. 



CONTENTS. 
Discoveries by French and Portuguese along the Coast— Slave Trade Systematized 
— " Horrors of the Middle Passage" — African Nations — Formation of the American 
Colonization Society— Disposal of Recaptured Slaves by the American Government— 
The Commonwealth of Liberia— Thos. H. Buchanan— Use of the American Flag in 
the Slave Trade— Slavers at Bassa— Expedition against them— Conflict- Death of King 
Bentrerai — Expedition of Buchanan against Gaytinuba — Death of Buchanan — His 
Character — Condition of Liberia as a Nation — Aspect of Liberia to a Visitor — Condition 
of the People compared with that of their race in the United States— Schools — Condi- 
tion of Slaves on board of the Slave Vessels- Capture of the Slave Barque Pons— Affair 
with the Natives near Palmas — Cruise of the " Perry'' — Abuse of the American Flag — 
An Arrangement made with the British Commodore for the Joint Cruising of the 
•' Perry" and Steamer " Cyclops"— Capture of the American Slave Ship "Martha" — 
Claims to Brazilian Nationality — Letters found on board illustrative of the Slave Trade 
— St Helena — Appearance of the Island — Island of Madeira — Interference of the British 
Consul with the " Louisa Benton"— Necessity of Squadrons for Protection of Com- 
merce and Citizens Abroad. 

This very interesting volume makes us acquainted with very im- 
portant facts connected with the efforts of the American Government 
to suppress the Slave Trade on the Coast of Africa. Lieut. Foote not 
only places before us a record of what occurred whilst he was in com- 
mand of the U. S. Brig " Perry," but gives us an account of the History 
and Government of the African Race — their Manners and Customs, an 
Account of the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Liberia, its 
Condition, Prospects, &c., &c. It abounds with every variety of inci- 
dent and adventure, and will, from the very novelty of the subject, 
have a wide sale. In order that some idea may be formed of the cha- 
racter of the work, a selection from the table of contents is prefixed. 




MANDlNCxO CHIEF AND HIS SWORD BEARER. 



CAPTAIN CANOT; 



OR, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER; 



BEING AN ACCOUXT OF 



HIS CAREER AND ADVENTURES ON THE COAST, 

IN THE INTERIOR, ON SHIPBOARD, AND IN 

THE WEST INDIES. 



WRITTEN OUT AND EDITEU FROM THE 



Captain's Journals, fllcmoranba anb douDcrsations 



BRANTZ MAYEK 



NEW YORK : 

D. APPLETON AND COMPANY, 

346 & 348 BROADWAY. 
LONDON: 10 LITTLE BRITAIN. 

M.DCCC.LIV. 



Enteeed, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1354, by 

BEANTZ MAYEE, 

in the Clerk's Office of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. 






TO 



N. P. AVILLIS, 

OF IDLEWILD. 



My Dear Willis, 

While inscribing this work with your name, as a testimonial 
of our long, unbroken friendship, you will let me say, I am sure, 
not only how, but why I have written it. 

About a year ago I was introduced to its hero, by Dr. James 
Hall, the distinguished founder and first governor of our colony 
at Cape Palmas. While busy with his noble task in Africa, 
Dr. Hall accidentally became acquainted with Captain Canot, 
during his residence at Cape Mount, and was greatly impressed 
in his favor by the accounts of all who knew him. Indeed, — 
setting aside his career as a slaver, — Dr. Hall's observation 
convinced him that Canot was a man of unquestionable integrity. 
The zeal, moreover, with which he embraced the first oppor- 
tunity, after his downfall, to mend his fortunes by honorable 
industry in South America, entitled him to respectful confidence. 
As their acquaintance ripened, my friend gradually drew from 
the wanderer the story of his adventurous life, and so striking 
were its incidents, so true its delineations of African character, 



IV 

that he advised the captain to prepare a copious memorandum, 
■which I should write out for the public. 

Let me tell you why I undertook this task ; but first, let me 
assure you that, entertaining as the story might have been for a 
large class of readers, I would not have composed a line for the 
mere gratification of scandalous curiosity. My conversations 
with Canot satisfied me that his disclosures were more tho- 
roughly candid than those of any one who has hitherto related 
his connection with the traffic. I thought that the evidence of 
one who, for twenty years, played the chief part in such a drama, 
was of value to society, which is making up its mind, not only 
about a great political and domestic problem, but as to the na- 
ture of the race itself. I thought that a true picture of aborigi- 
nal Africa, — unstirred by progress, — unmodified by reflected 
civilization, — full of the barbarism that blood and tradition have 
handed down from the beginning, and embalmed in its prejudices, 
like the corpses of Egypt, — could not fail to be of incalculable 
importance to philanthropists who regard no people as beyond 
the reach of enlightenment. 

The completed task rises before me like a moving panorama 
whose scenery and background are the ocean and tropics, and 
whose principal actor combines the astuteness of Fouche with 
the dexterity of Gil Bias. I have endeavored to set forth 
his story as plainly as possible, letting events instead of de- 
scriptions develope a chequered life which was incessantly con- 
nected with desperate men of both colors. As he unmasked his 
whole career, and gave me leave to use the incidents, I have not 
dared to hide what the actor himself displayed no wish to con- 
ceal. Besides the sketches of character which familiarize us 
with the aboriginal negro in Africa, there is a good moral in the 
resultless life, which, after all its toils, hazards, and successes, 
leaves the adventurer a stranded wreck in the prime of man- 



hood. One half the natural capacity, employed industriously in 
lawful commerce, would have made the captain comfortable and 
independent. Nor is there much to attract in the singular ab- 
negation of civilized happiness in a slaver's career. We may not 
be surprised, that such an animal as Da Souza, who is portrayed 
in these pages, should revel in the sensualities of Dahomey ; but 
we must wonder at the passive endurance that could chain a su- 
perior order of man, like Don Pedro Blanco, for fifteen un- 
broken years, to his pestilential hermitage, till the avaricious 
anchorite went forth from the marshes of Gallinas, laden with 
gold. I do not think this story is likely to seduce or educate a 
race of slavers ! 

The frankness of Canot's disclosures may surprise the more 
reserved and timid classes of society ; but I am of opinion that 
there is an ethnographic value in the account of his visit to the 
Mandingoes and Fullahs, and especially in his narrative of the 
wars, jugglery, cruelty, superstition, and crime, by which one 
sixth of Africa subjects the remaining five sixths to servitude. 

As the reader peruses these characteristic anecdotes, he will 
ask himself how, — in the progress of mankind, — such a people 
is to be approached and dealt with ? Will the Mahometanism 
of the North which is winning its way southward, and infusing it- 
self among the crowds of central Africa, so as, in some degree, to 
modify their barbarism, prepare the primitive tribes to receive 
a civilization and faith which are as true as they are divine ? 
Will our colonial fringe spread its fibres from the coast to the 
interior, and, like veins of refreshing blood, pour new currents 
into the mummy's heart ? Is there hope for a nation which, iu 
three thousand years, has hardly turned in its sleep ? The iden- 
tical types of race, servitude, occupation, and character that are 
now extant in Africa, may be found on the Egyptian monuments 
built forty centuries ago ; while a Latin poem, attributed to Vir- 



VI 

gil, describes a menial negress who might unquestionably pass 
for a slave of our Southern plantations : 

" Interdum clamat Cybalen ; erat unica custos ; 
Afra genus, tota patriam testante figura ; 
Torta comam, labroque lumens, et fusca colorem ; 
Pectore lata, jacens mammis, compressior alvo, 
Cruribus exilis, spatiosa prodiga planta ; 
Continuis rimis calcanea scissa rigebant."* 

It will be seen from these hints that our memoir has nothing 
to do with slavery as a North American institution, except so far 
as it is an inheritance from the system it describes ; yet, in pro- 
portion as the details exhibit an innate or acquired inferiority of 
the negro race in its oivn land^ they must appeal to every gen- 
erous heart in behalf of the benighted continent. 

It has lately become common to assert that Providence per- 
mits an exodus through slavery^ in order that the liberated 
negro may in time return, and, with foreign acquirements, be- 
come the pioneer of African civilization. It is attempted to 
reconcile us to this " good from evil," by stopping inquiry with 
the " inscrutability of God's ways ! " But we should not suffer 
ourselves to be deceived by such imaginary irreverence ; for, in 
God's ways, there is nothing less inscrutable than his law of right. 
That law is never qualified in this world. It moves with the 
irresistible certainty of organized nature, and, while it makes 
man free, in order that his responsibility may be unquestionable, 
it leaves mercy, even, for the judgment hereafter. Such a sys- 
tem of divine law can never palliate the African slave trade^ 
and, in fact, it is the basis of that human legislation which con- 
verts the slaver into a pirate, and awards him a felon's doom. 

For these reasons, we should discountenance schemes like 
those proposed not long ago in England, and sanctioned by the 

* MoRETUM, — Carm. Virg. "Wagner's ed. vol. 4, p. 301. 



Vll 

British government, for the encouragement of spontaneous emi- 
gration from Africa under the charge of contractors. The plan 
was viewed with fear by the colonial authorities, and President 
Roberts at once issued a proclamation to guard the natives. 
No one, I think, will read this book without a conviction that 
the idea of voluntary expatriation has not dawned on the Afri- 
can mind, and, consequently, what might begin in laudable 
philanthropy would be likely to end in practical servitude. 

Intercourse, trade, and colonization, in slow but steadfast 
growth, are the providences intrusted to us for the noble task 
of civilization. They who are practically acquainted with the 
colored race of our country, have long believed that gradual colo- 
nization was the only remedy for Africa as well as America. 
The repugnance of the free blacks to emigration from our 
shares has produced a tardy movement, and tlhis the African 
population has been thrown back grain by grain, and not wave 
by wave. Every one conversant with the state of our colonies, 
knows how beneficial this languid accretion has been. It moved 
many of the most enterprising, thrifty, and independent. It 
established a social nucleus from the best classes of American 
colored people. Like human growth, it allowed the frame 
to mature in muscular solidity. It gave immigrants time to 
test the climate ; to learn the habit of government in states as 
well as in families ; to acquire the bearing of freemen ; to aban- 
don their imitation of the whites among whom they had lived : 
and thus, by degrees, to consolidate a social and political system 
which may expand into independent and lasting nationality. 
Instead, therefore, of lamenting the slowness with which the col- 
onies have reached their vigorous promise, we should consider 
it a blessing that the vicious did not rush forth in turbulent 
crowds with the worthy, and impede the movements of better 
folks, who were still unused to the task of self-reliance. 



Vlll 

Men are often too much in a hurry to do good, and mar by 
excessive zeal what patience would complete. " Deus quies quia 
aeternus," saith St. Augustine. The cypress is a thousand years 
in growth, yet its limbs touch not the clouds, save on a moun- 
tain top. Shall the regeneration of a continent be quicker than 
its ripening ? That would be miracle — not progress. 

Accept this oifering, my dear Willis, as a token of that sin- 
cere regard, which, during an intimacy of a quarter of a cen- 
tury, has never wavered in its friendly trust. 

Faithfully, yours, 

Brantz Mayer. 
Baltimore, 1st Jtdy, 1854. 



CONTENTS 



PACK 

CHAP. I.~My parentage and education— Apprenticed at Leghorn to an American 
captain— First voyage— its mishaps — overboard— black cook— Sumatra— cabin boy 
—Arrival in Boston— My first command — View of Boston harbor from the mast- 
head—My first interview with a Boston merchant, William Gray ... 1 

CHAP. II.— My uncle tells my adventure with Lord Btrok— Captain Towne, and 
my life in Salem— My skill in Latin— Five years voyaging from Salem— I rescue 
a Malay girl at Qualiahbattoo — The Jirat slave I ever saw— End of my apprentice- 
ship— My backslid ings in Antwerp and Paris— Ship on a British vessel for Brazil 
—The captain and his wife— Love grog, and grumbling— A scene in the harbor of 
Eio — Matrimonial happiness — Voyage to Europe — "Wreck and loss on the coast 
near Ostend 10 

CHAP. III.— I design going to South America— A Dutch galliot for Havana- Male 
and female captain— Run foul of in the Bay of Biscay — Put into Ferrol, in Spain — 
I am appropriated by a new mother, grandmother, and sisters— A comic scene- 
How I got out of the scrape — Set sail for Havana — Jealousy of the captain— De- 
prived of my post — Restored — Refuse to do duty — Its sad consequences — Wrecked 
on a reef near Cuba — Fisherman-wreckers — Ofi"er to land cargo — Make a bargain 
with our salvors— A sad denouement— A night bath and escape .... 19 

CHAP. IV.— Bury my body in the sand to escape the insects- Night of horror— Re- 
fuge on a tree— Scented by bloodhounds— March to the rancho— My guard— Argu- 
ment about my fate— "My Uncle"' Rafael suddenly appears on the scene — 
Magic change effected by my relationship — Clothed, and fed, and comforted — I 
find an uncle, and am protected — Mesclet — Made cook's mate — Gallego, the cook 
—His appearance and character— Don Rafael's story— " Circumstances " — His 
counsel for my conduct on the island 31 

CHAP, v.— Life on a sand key— Pirates and wreckers— Their difference— Our galliot 
destroyed— the gang goes to Cuba— I am left with Gallego— His daily fishing and 
niglitly flitting— I watch him— My discoveries in the grave-yard— Return of the 
Tvreckers — "Amphibious Jews" — Visit from a Cuban inspector — "Fishing li- 
cense " — Gang goes to Cape Verde — Report of a fresh wreck — Chance of escape — 
Arrival — Return of wreckers— Bachicha and his clipper — Death of Mesclet — My 
adventures in a privateer— My restoration to the key — Qallego's chargea— His trial 
and fate . 41 



X CONTENTS. 

PAGE 

CHAP. VI.— I am sent from tbe key — Consigned to a grocer at Eegla— Cibo— His 
household— Fish-loving padre— Our dinners and studies— EafaePs fate — Havana 
— A slaver— I sail for Africa — The Areostatico's voyage, crew, gale— Mutiny — 
How I meet it alone — My first night in Africa! 57 

CHAP. VII. — Reflections on my conduct and character — Morning after the mutiny — 
Burial of the dead — My wounds — Jack Ormond, or the "Mongo John" — My 
physician and his prescription — Value of woman's milk — I make the vessel ready 
for iier slave cargo — I dine with Mongo John — His harem — Frolic in it — Duplicity 
of my captain — I take service with Ormond as his clerk — I pack the hmnan 
cargo of the Areostatico— Farewell to my English cabin boy— His story . . 66 

CHAP. VIII. — I take possession of my tiew quarters — My household and its fittings 
— History of Mr. Ormond — How he got his rights in Africa — I take a survey of his 
property and of my duties — The Cerberus of his harem — Unga-golah's stealing — 
Her rage at my opposition — A night visit at my quarters — Estiiee, the quarteroou 
— A warning and a sentimental scene— Account of an African factor's harem — Mongo 
John in his decline— His women— Their flirtations — Battles among the girls — How 
African beaus fight a duel for love I — Scene of passionate jealousy among tbe 
women 76 

CHAP. IX. — Pains and dreariness of the " wet season " — African rain! — A Caravan 
announced as coming to the Coast— Forest paths and trails in Africa— How we 
arrange to catch a caravan — "Barkers," who they are — AiiMAii-nE-BELLAH, son of 
the Ali-mami of Footha-Yallon — A Fullah chief leads the caravan of 700 persons 
—Arrival of the caravan— Its character and reception— Its produce taken charge 
of— People billeted — Mode of trading for the produce of a caravan — {Note: Ac- 
count of the produce, its value and results)— Mode of purchasing the produce- 
Sale over— Gift of an ostrich — Its value in guns — Bungee or " dash " — Ahmah-de- 
Bellah — How he got up his caravan— Blocks the forest paths — Convoy duties — 
Value and use of blocking the forest paths — Collecting debts, &c. — My talks with 
Ahmah — his instructions and sermons on Islamism — My geographical disquisitions, 
rotundity of the Avorld, the Koran— I consent to turn, minus the baptism !— Ah- 
mah's attempt to vow me to Islamism — Fullah punishments — Slave wars — Piety 
and profit— Ahmah and I exchange gifts— A double-barrelled gun for a Koran— I 
promise to visit the Fullah country 84 

CHAP. X.— Mode of purchasing Slaves at factories— Tricks of jockeys— Gunpowder 
and lemon-juice — I become absolute manager of the stores — Reconciliation with 
Unga-Golah— La belle Esther— I get the African fever— My nurses— Cured by 
sweating and bitters — Ague — Showerbath remedy — Mb. Edward Joseph — My 
union with him— I quit the Mongo, and take up my quarters with the Lon- 
doner . . 94 

CHAP. XI. — An epoch in my life in 1827 — A vessel arrives consigned to me for slaves 
— La Fortuna — How I managed to sell my cigars and get a cargo, though I had 
no factory— My first shipment— (Note on the cost and profit of a slave voyage) — 
How slaves are selected for various markets, and shipped — Go on board naked — 
hearty feed before embarkation — Stowage — Messes — Mode of eating — Grace — 
Men and women separated — Attention to health, cleanliess, ventilation — Singing 
and amusements — Daily purification of the vessel — Night, order and silence pre- 
served by negro constables— Use and disuse of handcuffs — Brazilian slavers— (Note 
on condition of slavers since the treaty with Spain) 99 

CHAP. XII.— How a cargo of slaves is landed in Cuba— Detection avoided — " Orati- 
ficaciones.'''' Clothes distributed — Vessel burnt or sent in as a coaster, or in distress 



CONTENTS. XI 

PAGB 

—A slave's first glimpse of a Cuban plantation— Delight with food and dress- 
Oddity of beasts of burden and vehicles — A slave's first interview with a negro 
postilion — the postilion's sermon in favor of slavery — Dealings with the ancho- 
rites—How tobacco smoke blinds public funclionares— My popularity on the Kio 
Pongo — Ormond's enmity to rae . • . 107 

CHAP. XIII. — I become intimate with " Country princes "' and receive their presents 
— Royal marriages — Insulting to refuse a proffered wife — I am pressed to wed a 
princess and my diplomacy to escape the sable noose — My partner agrees to marry 
the princess — The ceremonial of wooing and wedding in African high life— Coomba 110 

CHAP. XIV.— Joseph, my partner, has to fiy from Africa— How I save our property 
— My visit to the Bageks — their primitive mode of life — Habits — Honesty — I find 
my property unguarded and safe— My welcome in the village— Gift of a goat— Sup- 
per — Sleep — A narrow escape in the surf on the coast — the skill of Kroomen . 119 

CHAP. XV.— I study the institution of Slavery in Africa— Man becomes a "legal 
tender," or the coin of Africa — Slave wars, how they are directly promoted by the 
peculiar adaptation of the trade of the great commercial nations — Slavery an im- 
memorial institution in Africa — How and why it will always be retained — Who are 
made home slaves — Jockeys and brokers — Five si.xths of Africa in domestic 
bondage 12T 

CHAP. XVI.— Caravan announced— Mami de Yono, from Footha Yallon, uncle of 
Ahmah de Bellah — My ceremonious reception — My preparations for the chief— 
CotFee — his school and teaching — Narrative of his trip to Timbuctoo — Queer 
black-board map — prolix story teller— Timbuctoo and its trade— Slavery . . 129 

CHAP. XVII.— I set forth on my journey to Timbo, to see the father of Ahmah de 
Bellah— My caravan and its mode of travel— My Mussulman passport— Forest 
roads — Arrive at Kya among the Mandixgoes — My lodgings — Ibuahim Ali — Our 
supper and "bitters" — A scene of piety, love and liquor — Next morning's headache 
—Ali Ninpha begs leave to halt for a day— I manage our Fullah guide— My fever 
— Ilomoeopatliic dose of Islamism ft-om the Koran — My cure — Afternoon . . 136 

CHAP. XVIII.— A ride on horseback— Its exhilaration in the forest— Visit to the De- 
vil's Fountain — Tricks of an echo and sulphur water — Ibraliim and I discourse 
learnedly upon the ethics of fluids— My respect for national peculiarities — Our 
host's liberality — Mandingo etiquette at the departure of a guest — A valuable gift 
ft-om Ibrahim and its delicate bestowal— My offering in return— Tobacco and 
brandy . 143 

CHAP. XIX. — Anight bivouac in the forest — Hammock swung between trees — A 
surprise and capture— What we do with the fugitive slaves— A Mandingo upstart 
and his " town"— Inhospitality— He insults my Fullah leader— A quarrel- The 
Mandingo is seized and his townsfolk driven out— We tarry for Ali Ninpha— He 
returns and triesbis countrymen — Punishment— Mode of inculcating the social 
virtues among these interior tribes — We cross the Sanghu on an impromptu bridge 
—Game— Forest food— Vegetables— A " Witch's cauldron " of reptiles for tho 
negroes 147 

CHAP. XX. — Spread of Mahometanism in the interior of Africa — The external as- 
pect of nature in Africa— Prolific land— Indolence a law of the physical constitu- 
tion — My caravan's progress — The Ali Mami's peotection, its value — Forest 
scenery — Woods, open plains, barrancas and ravines — Their intense heat — Prairies 
—Swordgrass— River scenery, magnificence of the shores, foliage, flowers, fruits 
and birds ; picturesque towns, villages and herds — Mountain scenery, view, at 
morning, over the lowlands— An African noon 153 



atll CONTENTS. 

PAGB 

CHAP. XXL— "We approach Tamisso— Our halt at a brook— bathing, beautifying, 
and adornment of the women— Meseage and Melcome from Mohamedoo, by his 
son, with a gift of fo3d— Our musical escort and procession to the city— My horse 
is led by a buffoon of the court, who takes care of my face— Cariosity of the towns- 
folk to see the white Mongo — I pass on hastily to the Palace of Mohamedoo — 
What an African palace and its furniture is — Mohamedoo's appearance, greeting 
and dissatisfaction — I make my present and clear up the clouds — I determine to 
bathe— How the girls watch me — Their commentaries on my skin and complexion 
—Negro curiosity— A bath scene— Appearance of Tamisso, and my entertainment 
there . 157 

CHAP. XXir.— Improved character of country and population as we alvance to the 
interior — "We approach Jallica — Notice to Supuiana — A halt for refreshment 
and ablutions — Ali Ninpha's early home here — A great man in Soolimana— Sound 
of the war drum at a distance— Our welcome — Entrance to the town — My party, 
with the Fullah, is barred out — "We are rescued— Grand ceremonial procession and 
reception, lasting two hours— I am, at last, presented to Suphiana— My entertain- 
ment in Jallica — A concert — Musical instruments — Madoo, the ayah — I reward 
her dancing and singing 162 

CHAP. XXIII.— Our caravan proceeds towards Timbo— Met and welcomed in ad- 
vance, on a lofty table land, by Ahmah de Bellah — Psalm of joy sung by the Ful- 
lahs for our safety — "We reach Timbo before day — A house has been specially built 
and furnished for me — Minute care for my taste and comforts — Ahmah de Bellah 
a trump — A fancy dressing-gown and ruffled shirt — I bathe, dress, and am pre- 
sented to the Ali Mami — His inquisitive but cordial reception and recommenda- 
tion — Portrait of a Fullah king— A breakfast with his wife — My formal reception by 
the Chiefs of Timbo and Sulim.vni Ali — The ceremonial — Ahmah's speech as to 
my purposes — Promise of hospitality — My gifts— I design purchasing slaves — 
scrutiny of the presents — Cantharides — Abdulmomex Ali, a prince and book- 
man—His edifying discourse on Islamism- My submission 167 

CHAP. XXIV.— Site of Timbo and the surrounding country— A ride with the princes 
— A modest custom of the Fullahs in passing streams — Visit to villages — The in- 
habitants fly, fearing we are on a slave scout— Appearance of the cultivated lands, 
gardens, near Findo and Furo— Every body shuns me— A walk through Timbo — 
A secret expedition — I watch the girls and matrons as they go to the stream to 
draw water — Their figures, limbs, dress — A splendid headdress — The people of 
Timbo, their character, occupation, industry, reading — I announce my approach- 
ing departure— Slave forays to supply me — A capture of forty-five by Sulimani 
Ali — The personal dread of me increases — Abdulmomen and Ahmah de Bellah 
continue their slave hunts by day, and their pious discourses on Islamism by night 
—I depart— The farewell gifts— two pretty damsels 176 

CHAP. XXV.— My home journey— "We reach home with a caravan near a thousand 
strong— Kambia in order- Mami de Yong and my clerk— The story and fate of 
the Ali Mami's daughter Beeljie 188 

CHAP. XXVI.— Arrival of a French slaver. La Perouse, Captain Brulot— Ormond 
and I breakfast on board— Its sequel— "We are made prisoners and put in irons- 
Short mode of collecting an old debt on the coast of Africa— The Frenchman gets 
possession of our slaves — Arrival of a Spanish slaver 190 

CHAP. XXVII.— Ormond communicates with the Spaniard, and arranges for our res- 
sue- La Esperanz a— Brulot gives in— How we fine him two hundred and fifty 
doubloons for the expense of his suit, and teach him the danger of playing tricks 
upon African factors .... 196 



CONTENTS. Xlll 

PAGE 

CHAP. XXVIIL— Capt. Escudero of the Esperanza dies— I resolve to take his place 
in command and visit Cuba — Arrival of a Danish slaver— Quarrel and battle be- 
tween the crews of my Spaniard and the Dane— The Dane attempts to punish me 
through the duplicity of Ormond— I bribe a servant and discover the trick— My 
conversation with Ormond — \N"e agiee to circumvent the enemy — Howl get a 
cargo without cash 200 

CHAP. XXIX.— Off to sea— A calm— A British man-of-war— Boat attack— Eeinforce- 

ment— A battle— A catastrophe— A prisoner 206 

CHAP. XXX. — 1 am sent on board the corvette— My reception— A dangerous pre- 
dicament — The Captain and surgeon make me comfortable for the night — Extraor- 
dinary conveniences for escape, of which I take the liberty to avail myself . . 215 

CHAP. XXXI.— I drift away in a boat with my servant— Our adventures till we land 
in the Isles de Loss — My illness and recovery— I return to the Kio Pongo— I am 
received on board a French slaver — Invitation to dinner — Monkey soup and its 
consequences 218 

CHAP. XXXII.— My greeting in Kambia— The Feliz from Matanzas — Negotiations 
for her cargo — Ormond attempts to poison rue — Ormonds auiciJe — His burial ac- 
cording to African customs 222 

CHAP. XXXIII.— A visit to the Matacan river in quest of slaves— My reception by 
the king — His appearance — Scramble for my gifts — How slaves are sometimes trap- 
ped on a hasty hunt— I visit the Matacan Wizard ; his cave, leopard, blind boy 
— Deceptions and jugglery— Feitiches — A scale of African intellect . . . 227 

CHAP. XXXIV.— What became of the Esperanza's officers and crew — The destruc- 
tion of my factory at Kambia by fire— I lose all but my slaves — the incendiary de- 
tected — Who instigated the deed — Ormond's relatives — Death ok Esther — I go 
to sea in a schooner from Sierra Leone — How I acquire a cargo of slaves in the Kio 
Nunez without money 233 

CHAP. XXXV. — I escape capture — Symptoms of mutiny and detection of the plot — 

How we put it down 240 

CHAP. XXXVI. — A " white squall " — I land my cargo near St. Jago de Cuba — Trip 
to Havana on horseback— My consignees and their prompt arrangements — success 
of my voyage— Interference of the French Consul— I am nearly arrested— How 
things were managed, of old, in Cuba 244 

CHAP. XXXVII.— A long holiday— I am wrecked on a key— My rescue by salvors 
— New Providence — I ship on the San Pablo, from St. Thomas's, as sailing mas- 
ter— Her captain and his arrangements— Encounter a transport— Benefit of the 
smallpox— Mozambique Channel— Take cargo near Quilllmane— How we man- 
aged to get slaves— Illness of our captain— The smallpox breaks out on our brig- 
Its fatality 243 

CHAP. XXXVIII.— Our captain longs for calomel, and how I get it from a Scotch- 
man—Our captain's last will and testament— We are chased by a British cruiser- 
How we out-manoeuvred and crippled her — Death of our captain — Cargo landed 
and the San Pablo burnt 255 

CHAP. XXXIX.— My returns from the voyage $12,000, and how I ap[-ly them— A 
custr)m-liouse encoonter which loses me La Conchita and my money -I get com- 
mand of a slaver for Ayuoau — La Estrella— I consign her to the notorious Da 
SoczA or Cha-cha— His history and mode of life in Africa— His gambling houses 
and women — I keep aloof from his temptations, and contrive to get my cargo in 
two months 260 



XIV CONTENTS. 

PACK 

CIIAP. XL. — All Africans believe in divinities or powers of various degree, t-xcept 
the Bagers— Iguanas worshipped in Ayudah— Invitation to witness the human 
6ACRIFICE6 at the court of Dahomey— How they travel to Abomey— The King, liis 
court, amazons, style of life, and brutal festivities— Superstitious rights at Lagos— 
The Juju hunts by night for the virgin to be sacrificed— Greegree bush— The sa- 
crifice — African priest and kingcraft 265 

CIIAP. XLL— My voyage home in the Estrella- A revolt of the slaves during 

a squall, and how we were obliged to suppress ii— Use of pistols and hot water . 272 

CIIAP. XLII. — Smallpox and a necessary murder — Bad luck every where — A chase 

and a narrow escape 276 

CHAP. XLIII.— The Aguila de Oro, a Chesapeake clipper— my race with the Mon- 
tesquieu — I enter the river Salum to trade for slaves — I am threatened, then ar- 
rested, and my clipper seized by French man-of-war's men — Inexplicable mystery 
— We are imprisoned at Goree — Transferred to San Louis on the Senegal — The 
Frenchmen appropriate my schooner without condemnation — How they used her 
The sisters of charity m our prison— The trial scene in court, and our sentence- 
Friends attempt to facilitate my escape, but our plans detected — I am transferred 
to aguardship in the stream — New i>r<)jects for my escai)e — A jolly party and the 
nick of time, but the captain spoils the sport 280 

CHAP. XLIV.— I am sent to France in the frigate Flora— Sisters of charity— The 
prison of Brest— My prison companions— Prison mysteries— Corporal Blon— I 
apply to the Spanish minister — Transfer to the civil prison 286 

CIIAP. XLV.— Madame Sorret and my new quarters— Mode of life— A lot of Cata- 
lan girls — Prison boarding and lodging — Misery of the convicts in the coast prisons 
— Improvement of the central prisons 292 

CHAP. XLVL— New lodgers in our quarters— How we pass our time in pleasant 
diversions by aid of the Catalan girls and my cash— Soirees— My funds give out — 
Madame Sorret makes a suggestion — I turn schoolmaster, get jmpils, teach Eng- 
lish and penmanship, and support my whole party 295 

CHAP. XLVIL— Monsieur Germaine, the forger— His trick— Cause of Germaine's 

arrest — An adroit and rapid forgery — Its detection 300 

CHAP. XLVIII.— Plan of escape— Germaine's project against Babette— A new 
scheme for New Year's night — Passports— Pietro Nazzolini and Domenico 
Antonette— Preparations for our " French leave "—How the attempt eventuated 804 

CHAP. XLIX.— Condition of the Sentinel when he was found— His story— Prison 
researches next day — How we avoid detection — Louis Philippe receives my peti- 
tion favorably— Germaine's philosophic pilfering and principles— His plan to rob 
the Santissima Casa of Loreto — He designs making an attempt on the Em- 
peror Nicholas— I am released and banished from France 810 

CHAP. L.— I go to Portugal, and return in disguise to Marseilles, in order to embark 
for Africa— I resolve to continue a slaver— A Marseilles hotel during the cholera- 
Doctor Du Jean and Madame Duprez — Humors of the table d'hote — Coquetry 
and flirtation — A phrenological denouement 816 

CHAP. LI.— I reach Goree, and hasten to Sierra Leone, where I become a coast 
pilot to Gallinas— Site of that celebrated factory— Z)o?i Pedro Blanco— His 
monopoly of the Yey country — Slave trade and its territorial extent prior to the 
American Scheme of Colonization — Blanco's arrangements, telegraphs, &c. at 
Gallinas — Appearance and mode of life— Blanco and the Lord's prayer in Latin . 824 



CONTENTS. XV 

PAGE 

CHAP. LIL— Anecdotes of Blanco— Growth of slave trade in the Yet country— Lo- 
cal wars— Amarvr and Shiakar— Barbarities of the natives 330 



CHAP. LIII.— I visit Liberia, and observe a new phase of negro development— I go 
to New Sesteos, and establish trade -Trouble with Prince Freeman— The value 
of gunpowder physic S85 

CHAP. LIV.— My establishment at New Sestros, and how I created the slave trade 
in that region— The ordeal of Saccy Wood— My mode of attacking a supersti- 
tious usage, and of saving the victims— The story of Barrau and his execution . 3S9 

CHAP. LV.— No river at New Sestros— Beach— Kroomen and Fishraen— Bushmen— 
Kroo boats— I engage a fleet of them for my factory— I ship a cargo of slaves in a 
hurry- My mode of operating — Value of rum and mock coral beads — Return of 
the cruiser 344 

CHAP. LVL— I go on a pleasure voyage in the Brilliant, accompanied by Governor 
FiNDLAY— Murder of the Governor — I fit out an expedition to revenge his death 
— A fight with the beach negroes — We burn five towns — A disastrous retreat — I 
am wounded — Vindication of Findlay's memory 394 

CHAP. LVIL— What Don Pedro Blanco thought of my Quixotism— Painful effects 
of my wound — Blanco's liberality to Findlay's family — My slave nurseries on the 
coast — Digby — I pack nineteen negroes on my launch, and set sail for home — Dis- 
astrous voyage— Stories — I land my cargo at night at Monrovia, and carry it 
through the colony!— Some new views of commercial Morality! .... 356 

CHAP. LVIII.— My compliments to British cruisers — The Bonito— I offer an inspec- 
tion of my barracoons, &c , to her ofticers — A lieutenant and the surgeon are sent 
ashore — My reception of them, and the review of my slaves, feeding, sleeping, &c. 
— Our night frolic — Next morning — A surprise — The Bonito off, and her officers 
ashore! — Almost a quarrel — How I pacified my guests over a good breakfast — 
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander - 362 

CHAP. LIX.— Ups and downs— I am captured in a Russian vessel, and sent to Sierra 
Leone — It is resolved that I am to be despatched to England — I determine to take 
French leave— Preparation to celebrate a birthday — A feast— A martinet — Cor- 
poral Blcnt — Pleasant effects of cider— A swim for life and liberty at night — 
My concealment — I manage to equip myself, and depart in a Portuguese vessel — 
I ship thirty-one slaves at Digby — A narrow escape from a cruiser — My return to 
New Sestros— Report of my death— How I restored confidence in my actual exist- 
ence — Don Pedro's notion of me — The gift of a donkey, and its disastrous effect 
on the married ladies of New Sestros . . . . , 369 

CHAP. LX. — The confession of a dying sailor— Sanchez— The story of the murder of 
Don Miguel, and destruction of his fiictory by Thompson- A piratical revenge — 
An auto-da-fe at sea 377 

CHAP. LXL— My establishment at Digby— The rival kinsmen, and their quarrel — 
Jen-ken, the Bushman — My arrival at Digby, carousal— A night attack by the 
rival and his allies— A rout— Horrid scenes of massacre, barbarity, and cannibal- 
ism—My position and ransom 8S2 

?HAP. LXII.— 1 escape from the bloody scene in a boat with a Krooman— Storm on 
the coast— My perilous attempt to land at Gallinas— How I am warned off— An 
African tornado — The sufferings of my companion and myself while exposed in 
the boat, and our final rescue 387 

CHAP. LXIII.— Don Pedro Blanco leaves Gallinas— I visit Cape Mount, to restore 
his eon to the Chief— His reception— I go to England in the Gil Blas ; she is run 



XVI CONTENTS. 

PAGK 

down by a steamer in the Channel— Rescued, and reach Dover— I see London and 
the British Islands— The diversions, sufferings, and opinions of my servant Luxes 
in Great Britain — lie leaves xoluntarily for Africa— A queer chat and scene with 
the ladies — Ilis opinion of negro dress and negro bliss 31)1 

CHAP. LXIV.— I make arrangements for future trade and business with Mk. Red- 
man — I go to Havana, r'^solved to obtain a release from Blanco, and engage in 
lawful commerce— Don Pedro refuses, and sends me back with a freight — A voy- 
age with two African females revisiting their native country— Their story in 
Cuba; results of frugality and industry— Shiakar's daughter— Her reception at 
home— Her disgust with her savage home in Africa, and return to Cuba . . 396 

CHAP. LXV. — I find my establishment in danger, from the colonists and others — A 
correspondence with Lieut. Bell, U. 8. N. — Harmless termination of Governor 
Buchanan's onslaught — Threatened with famine ; my relief— The Volador 
takes 749 slaves ;— the last cargo I ever shipped 899 

CHAP. LXVI.— I am attacked by the British cruiser Termagant, Lieut. Seagram— 
Correspondence and diplomacy — I go on board the cruiser in a damp uniform — 
My reception and jollification — I confess my intention to abandon the 
Slave trade — My compact with Seagram — How we manage Prince Freeman — 
His treaty with the Lieutenant for the suppression of the trade — The negro's du- 
plicity outwits himself— The British officer guaranties the safe removal of my 
property, whereupon I release 100 slaves— Captain Denman's destruction of 
Gallinas — Freeman begins to see my diplomacy, and regrets his inability to 
plunder my property, as the natives had done at Gallinas — His plot to effect this 
— How I counteract it 405 

CHAP. LXVII. — My barracoons destroyed — Adieus to New Sestros — I sail with Sea- 
gram, in the Termagant, for Cape Mount — A slaver in sight — All the nautical men 
depart to attack her in boats during a calm — I am left in charge of Her Britannic 
Majesty's cruiser — The fruitless issue — Escape of the Serea 411 

CHAP. LXVIII. — We land at Cape Mount, and obtain a cession of territory, by deed, 
ft-om King Fana-Toro and Prince Gray — I explore the region — Site of old 
English slave factory — Difficulty of making the negroes comprehend my itriprove- 
ments at New Florence — Negro speculations and philosophy in regard to labor . 414 

CHAP. LXIX. — Visit to Monrovia— Description of the colony and its products- 
Speculations on the future of the republic, and the character of colored coloni- 
zation 419 

CHAP. LXX. — I remove, and settle permanently at New Florence — I open commu- 
nications with cruisers to supply them with provisions, ifec. — Anecdote of Soma, 
the gambler — His sale and danger in the hands of a Bushman — Mode ol gambling 
one's self away in Africa — A letter from Governor Macdonald destroys my pros- 
pect of British protection— I haul down the British flag— I determine to devote 
myself to husbandry— Bad prospect 424 

CHAP. LXXI.— Account of the character of the Vey negroes— The Gree-gree 
bush — Description of this institution, its rites, services, and uses — Marriage and 
midwifery- A scene with Fana-Toro, at Toso — Human sacrifice of his enemy ; 
frying a heart; indignity committed on the body — Anecdote of the king's endu- 
rance ; burns his finger as a test, and rallies his men — Death of Prince Gray — Fu- 
neral rites among the Vey people — Smoking the corpse — I am offered the choice 
of his widows 481 

CHAP. LXXIL— My workshops, gardens, and plantations at the Capo Mount settle- 
ment—I do not prosper as a farmer or trader with the interior— I desire to build 



CONTENTS. XVll 

PAGa 

a coaster— 1 aid in the transfer of the Yankee clipper A to a slaver— I part on 

bad terms with the British— Game at Cape Mount— Adventure of a boy and an 
Ourang-outang — How we killed leopards, and saved our castle — Mode of hunting 
elephants— Elephant law 437 

CHAP. LXXIII.— Fana-Toro's war, and its eDFect on my establishment -I decline 
joining actively in the conflict— I allow captives to be shipped by a Gallinas factor 
— Two years of blockade by the British — A miraculous voyage of a long-boat with 
thirty-three slaves to Baliia — My disasters and mishaps at Cape Mount in conse- 
quence of this war — Exaggerations of my enemies— My true character — Letter from 
Rev. Joiix Sets to me— My desire to aid the missionaries— Cain and Cuktis 
stimulate the British against me — Adventure of the Chancellor — the British de- 
stroy my establishment— Death of Fana-Toro — The natives revenge my loss— 
The end 442 



THEODORE CANOT 



CHAPTER I. 

Whilst Bonaparte was busy conquering Italy, my excellent 
father, Louis Canot, a captain and paymaster in the French 
army, thought fit to pursue his fortunes among the gentler sex 
of that fascinating country, and luckily won the heart and hand 
of a blooming Piedmontese, to whom I owe my birth in the capi- 
tal of TuBcany- 

My father was faithful to the Emperor as well as the Consul. 
He followed his sovereign in his disasters as well as glory ; nor 
did he falter in allegiance until death closed his career on the 
Held of Waterloo. 

Soldiers' wives are seldom rich, and my mother was no ex- 
ception to the rule. She was left in very moderate circum- 
stances, with six children to support ; but the widow of an old 
campaigner, who had partaken the sufferings of many a long and 
dreary march with her husband, was neither disheartened by the 
calamity, nor at a loss for thrifty expedients to educate her 
younger oflFspring. Accordingly, I was kept at school, studying 
'geography, arithmetic, history and the languages, until near 
twelve years old, when it was thought time for me to choose a 
profession. At school, and in my leisure ho^rs, J. h^d ?ilway8 



2 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

been a greedy devourer of books of travel, or historical narra- 
tives full of stirring incidents, so that when I avowed my prefer- 
ence for a sea-faring life, no one was surprised. Indeed, my 
fancy was rather applauded, as two of my mother's brothers had 
served in the Neapolitan navy, under Murat. Proper inquiries 
were quickly made at Leghorn ; and, in a few weeks, I found 
myself on the mole of that noble seaport, comfortably equipped, 
with a liberal outfit, ready to embark, as an apprentice, upon the 
American ship Galatea, of Boston. 

It was in the year 1819, that I first saluted the element upon 
which it has been my destiny to pass so much of my life. The 
reader will readily imagine the discomforts to which I was sub- 
jected on this voyage. Born and bred in the interior of Ital}^ 
I had only the most romantic ideas of the sea. My opinions 
had been formed from the lives of men in loftier rank and under 
more interosting circumstances. My career was necessarily one 
of great hardship ; and, to add to my misfortunes, I had neither 
companion nor language to vent my grief and demand sympathy. 
For the first three months, I was the butt of every joker in the 
ship. I was the scape-goat of every accident and of every one's 
sins or carelessness. As I lived in the cabin, each plate, glass, 
or utensil that fell to leeward in a gale, was charged to m}^ negli- 
gence. Indeed, no one seemed to compassionate my lot save a 
fat, lubberly negro cook, whom I could not endure. He was the 
first African my eye ever fell on, and I must confess that he 
was the only friend I possessed during my early adventures. 

Besides the ofl&cers of the Galatea, there was a clerk on 
board, whom the captain directed to teach me English, so that, 
by the time we reached Sumatra, I was able to stand up for my 
rights, and plead niy cause. As we could not obtain a cargo of 
pepper on the island, we proceeded to Bengal ; and, on our arri- 
val at Calcutta, the captain, who was also supercargo, took apart- 
ments on shore, where the clerk and myself were allowed to fol- 
low him. 

According to the fashion of that period, the house provided 
for our accommodation was a spacious and elegant one, equipped 
with eyery oriental comfort and conyeijience, while fifteen ojr 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 3 

twenty servants were always at the command of its inmates. 
For three months we lived like nabobs, and sorry, indeed, was I 
when the clerk announced that the vessel's loading was completed, 
and our holiday over. 

On the voyage home, I was promoted from the cabin, and 
sent into the steerage to do duty as a " light hand," in the chief 
mate's watch. Between this officer and the captain there was 
ill blood, and, as I was considered the master's pet, I soon began 
to feel the bitterness of the subordinate's spite. This fellow 
was not only cross-grained, but absolutely malignant. One day, 
while the ship was skimming along gayly with a five-knot breeze, 
he ordered me out to the end of the jib-boom to loosen the sail; 
yet, without waiting until I was clear of the jib, he suddenly 
commanded the men who were at the halliards to hoist the can- 
vas aloft. A sailor who stood by pointed out my situation, but 
was cursed into silence. In a moment I was jerked into the air, 
and, after performing half a dozen involuntary summersets, was 
thrown into the water, some distance from the ship's side. 
When I rose to the surface, I heard the prolonged cry of the 
anxious crew, all of whom rushed to the ship's side, some with 
ropes' ends, some with chicken coops, while others sprang to the 
stern boat to prepare it for launching. In the midst of the 
hurly-burly, the captain reached the deck, and laid the ship to ; 
the sailor who had remonstrated with the mate having, in the 
meantime, clutched that officer, and attempted to throw him 
over, believing I had been drowned by his cruelty. As the sails 
of the Galatea flattened against the wind, many an anxious eye 
was strained over the water in search of me ; but I was nowhere 
seen ! In truth, as the vessel turned on her heel, the movement 
brought her so close to the spot where I rose, that I clutched a 
rope thrown over for my rescue, and climbed to the lee channels 
without being perceived. As I leaped to the deck, I found one 
half the men in tumultuous assemblage around the struggling 
mate and sailor ; but my sudden apparition served to divert the 
mob from its fell purpose, and, in a few moments, order was per- 
fectly restored. Our captain was an intelligent and just man, 
as may be readily supposed from the fact that he exclusively 



4 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

controlled so valuable an enterprise. Accordingly, the matter 
was examined with much deliberation ; and, on the following 
day, the chief mate was deprived of his command, I should not 
forget to mention that, in the midst of the excitement, my sable 
friend the cook leaped overboard to rescue his 'protege. Nobody 
happened to notice the darkey when he sprang into the sea ; and, 
as he swam in a direction quite contrary from the spot where I 
fell, he was nigh being lost, when the ship's sails were trimmed 
upon her course. Just at that moment a faint call was heard 
from the sea, and the woolly skull perceived in time for rescue. 

This adventure elevated not only " little Theodore," but our 
" culinary artist" in the good opinion of the mess. Every Sat- 
urday night my African friend was allowed to share the cheer 
of the forecastle, while our captain presented him with a certifi- 
cate of his meritorious deed, and made the paper more palatable 
by the promise of a liberal bounty in current coin at the end of 
the voyage. 

I now began to feel at ease, and acquire a genuine fondness 
for sea life. My aptitude for languages not only familiarized me 
with English, but enabled me soon to begin the scientific study 
of navigation, in which, I am glad to say, that Captain Solomon 
Towne was always pleased to aid my industrious eiForts. 

We touched at St. Helena for supplies, but as Napoleon was 
still alive, a British frigate met us within five miles of that rock- 
bound coast, and after furnishing a scant supply of water, bade 
us take our way homeward. 

I remember very well that it was a fine night in July, 1820, 
when we touched the wharf at Boston, Massachusetts. Captain 
Towne's family resided in Salem, and, of course, he was soon on 
his way thither. The new mate had a young wife in Boston, and 
he, too, was speedily missing. One by one, the crew sneaked off 
in the darkness. The second mate quickly found an excuse for 
a visit in the neighborhood ; so that, by midnight, the Galatea, 
with a cargo valued at about one hundred and twenty thousand 
dollars, was intrusted to the watchfulness of a stripling cabin- 
boy. 

I do not say it boastfully, but it is true that, whenever I 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. t) 

have been placed in responsible situations, from the ear7/est 
period of mj recollection, I felt an immediate stirring of that 
pride which always made me equal, or at least willing, for the 
required duty. All night long I paced the deck. Of all the 
wandering crowd that had accompanied me nearly a year across 
many seas, I alone had no companions, friends, home, or sweet- 
heart, to seduce me from my craft ; and I confess that the senti- 
ment of loneliness, which, under other circumstances, might have 
unmanned me at my American greeting, was stifled by the min- 
gled vanity and pride with which I trod the quarter-deck as tem- 
porary captain. 

When dawn ripened into daylight, I remembered the stirring 
account my shipmates had given of the beauty of Boston, and I 
suddenly felt disposed to imitate the example of my fellow-sail- 
ors. Honor, however, checked my feet as they moved towards 
the ship's ladder ; so that, instead of descending her side, I 
closed the cabin door, and climbed to the main-royal yard, to see 
the city at least, if I could not mingle with its inhabitants. I 
expected to behold a second Calcutta ; but my fancy was not gra- 
tified. Instead of observing the long, glittering lines of palaces 
and villas I left in India and on the Tuscan shore, my Italian 
eyes were first of all saluted by dingy bricks and painted boards. 
But. as my sight wandered away from the town, and swept down 
both sides of the beautiful bay, filled with its lovely islands, and 
dressed in the fresh greenness of summer, I confess that my 
memory and heart were magically carried away into the heart of 
Italy, playing sad tricks with my sense of duty, when I was 
abruptly restored to consciousness by hearing the heavy foot- 
fall of a stranger on deck. 

The intruder — as well as I could see from aloft — seemed to 
be a stout, elderly person. I did not delay to descend the rat- 
lins, but slid down a back-stay, just in time to meet the stran- 
ger as he approached our cabin. My notions of Italian manners 
did not yet permit me to appreciate the greater freedom and 
social liberty with which I have since become so familiar in 
America, and it may naturally be supposed that I was rather 
peremptory in ordering the inquisitive Bostonian to leave the 



6 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

ship. I was in command — in my first command ; and so uncere- 
monious a visit was peculiarly annoying. Nor did the conduct 
of the intruder lessen my anger, as, quietly smiling at my order, 
he continued moving around the ship, and peered into every nook 
and corner. Presently he demanded whether I was alone ? 
My self-possession was quite sufficient to leave the question un- 
answered ; but I ordered him off again, and, to enforce my com- 
mand, called a dog that did not exist. My ruse^ however, did 
not succeed. The Yankee still continued his examination, while 
I followed closely on his heels, now and then twitching the long 
skirts of his surtout to enforce my mandate for his departure. 

During this promenade, my unwelcome guest questioned me 
about the captain's health, — about the mate, — as to the cause of 
his dismissal, — about our cargo, — and the length of our voyage. 
Each new question begot a shorter and more surly answer. I 
was perfectly satisfied that he was not only a rogue, but a most 
impudent one ; and my Pranco-Italian temper strained almost to 
bursting. 

By this time, we approached the house which covered the 
steering-gear at the ship's stern, and in which were buckets con- 
taining a dozen small turtles, purchased at the island of Ascen- 
sion, where we stopped to water after the refusal at St. Helena. 
The turtle at once attracted the stranger's notice, and he promptly 
offered to purchase them. I stated that only half the lot be- 
longed to me, but that I would sell the whole, provided he 
was able to pay. In a moment, my persecutor drew forth a well- 
worn pocket-book, and handing me six dollars, asked whether I 
was satisfied with the price. The dollars were unquestionable 
gleams, if not absolute proofs, of honesty, and I am sure my 
heart would have melted had not the purchaser insisted on taking 
one of the buckets to convey the turtles home. Now, as these 
charming implements were part of the ship's pride, as well as 
property, and had been laboriously adorned by our marine artists 
with a spread eagle and the vessel's name, I resisted the demand, 
offering, at the same time, to return the money. But my turtle- 
dealer was not to be repulsed so easily ; his ugly smile still 
sneered in my face as he endeavored to push me asido and drag 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 7 

the bucket from my hand. I soon found that he was the stronger 
of the two, and that it would be impossible for me to rescue my 
bucket fairly ; so, giving it a sudden twist and shake, I contrived 
to upset both water and turtles on the deck, thus sprinkling the 
feet and coat-tails of the veteran with a copious ablution. To 
my surprise, however, the tormentor's cursed grin not only con- 
tinued but absolutely expanded to an immoderate laugh, the up- 
roariousness of which was increased by another suspicious Bosto- 
nian, who leaped on deck during our dispute. By this time I was 
in a red heat. My lips were white, my cheeks in a blaze, and my 
eyes sparks. Beyond myself with ferocious rage, I gnashed my 
teeth, and buried them in the hand which I could not otherwise 
release from its grasp on the bucket. In the scramble, I either 
lost or destroyed part of ray bank notes ; yet, being conqueror 
at last, I became clement, and taking up my turtles, once more 
insisted upon the departure of my annoyers. There is no doubt 
that I larded my language with certain epithets, ver}^ current 
among sailors, most of which are learned more rapidly by foreign- 
ers than the politer parts of speech. 

Still the abominable monster, nothing daunted by my on- 
slaught, rushed to the cabin, and would doubtless have de- 
scended, had not I been nimbler than he in reaching the doors, 
against which I placed my back, in defiance. Here, of course, 
another battle ensued, enlivened by a chorus of laughter from a 
crowd of laborers on the wharf. This time I could not bite, yet 
I kept the apparent thief at bay with my feet, kicking his shins 
unmercifully whenever he approached, and swearing in the choicest 
Tuscan. 

He who knows any thing of Italian character, especially when 
it is additionally spiced by French condiments, may imagine the 
intense rage to which so volcanic a nature as mine was, by this 
time, fully aroused. Language and motion were nearly exhaust- 
ed. I could neither speak nor strike. The mind's passion had 
almost produced the body's paralysis. Tears began to fall from 
my eyes : but still he laughed ! At length, I suddenly flung wide 
the cabin doors, and leaping below at a bound, seized from the 
rack a loaded musket, with which I rushed upon deck. As soon 



8 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

as the muzzle appeared above the hatchway, my tormentor sprang 
over the ship, and by the time I reached the ladder, I found him 
on the wharf, surrounded by a laughing and shouting crowd. I 
shook my head menacingly at the group ; and shouldering my 
firelock, mounted guard at the gangway. It was fully a quarter 
of an hour that I paraded (occasionally ramming home my mus- 
ket's charge, and varying the amusement by an Italian defiance 
to the jesters), before the tardy mate made his appearance on 
the wharf. But what was my consternation, when I beheld him 
advance deferentially to my pestilent visitor, and taking off his 
hat, respectfully offer to conduct him on board ! This was a 
great lesson to me in life on the subject of " appearances." The 
shabby old individual was no less a personage than the celebrated 
William Gray, of Boston, owner of the Galatea and cargo, and 
proprietor of many a richer craft then floating on every sea. 

But Mr. Gray was a forgiving enemy. As he left the ship 
that morning, he presented me fifty dollars, " in exchange," he 
said, " for the six destroyed in protection of his property ; " 
and, on the day of my discharge, he not only paid the wages of 
my voyage, but added fifty dollars more to aid my schooling in 
scientific navigation. 

Four years after, I again met this distinguished merchant at 
the Marlborough Hotel, in Boston. I was accompanied, on that 
occasion, by an uncle who visited the United States on a com- 
mercial tour. When my relative mentioned my name to Mr. 
Gray, that gentleman immediately recollected me, and told my 
venerable kinsman that he never received such abuse as I 
bestowed on him in July, 1820 ! The sting of my teeth, he 
declared, still tingled in his hand, while the kicks I bestowed 
on his ankles, occasionally displayed the scars they had left on 
his limbs. He seemed particularly annoyed, however, by some 
caustic remarks I had made about his protuberant stomach, and 
forgave the blows but not the language. 

My uncle, who was somewhat of a tart disciplinarian, gave 
me an extremely black look, while, in French, he demanded an 
explanation of my conduct. I knew Mr. Gray, however, better 
than my relative ; and so, without heeding his reprimand, I an- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 9 

swered, in English, that if I cursed the ship's owner on that 
occasion, it was my debut in the English language on the Ameri- 
can continent ; and as my Anglo-Saxon education had been j5n- 
ished in a forecastle, it was not to be expected I should be select 
in my vocabulary. " Nevertheless," I added, " Mr, Gray was 
so delighted with my accolade, that he valued my defence of his 
property and our delicious tete-a-tete at the sum of a hundred 
dollars!" 



10 CAPTAIN canot; or. 



CHAPTER II. 

The anecdote told in the last chapter revived my uncle's recol- 
lection of several instances of my early impetuosity ; among 
which was a rencounter with Lord Byron, while that poet was 
residing at his villa on the slope of Monte Negro near Leghorn, 
which he took the liberty to narrate to Mr. Grray. 

A commercial house at that port, in which my uncle had some 
interest, was the noble lord's banker ; — and, one day, while my 
relative and the poet were inspecting some boxes recently arrived 
from Greece, I was dispatched to see them safely deposited in 
the warehouse. Suddenly, Lord Byron demanded a pencil. My 
uncle had none with him, but remembering that I had lately 
been presented one in a handsome silver case, requested the 
loan of it. Now, as this was my first silver possession, I was 
somewhat reluctant to let it leave my possession even for a mo- 
ment, and handed it to his lordship with a bad grace. When the 
poet had made his memorandum, he paused a moment, as if lost 
in thought, and then very unceremoniously — but, doubtless, in a 
fit of abstraction — put the pencil in his pocket. If I had already 
visited America at that time, it is likely that I would have 
warned the Englishman of his mistake on the spot ; but, as 
children in the Old "World are rather more curbed in their inter- 
course with elders than on this side of the Atlantic, I bore the 
forgetfulness as well as I could until next morning. Summoning 
all my resolution, I repaired without my uncle's knowledge to 
the poet's house at an early hour, and after much difficulty was 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 11 

admitted to his room. He was still in bed. Every body has 
heard of Byron's peevishness, when disturbed or intruded on. 
He demanded my business in a petulant and offensive tone. I 
replied, respectfully, that on the preceding day I loaned him a 
silver pencil, — strongly emphasizing and repeating the word silver^ 
— which, I was grieved to say, he forgot to return. Byron reflect- 
ed a moment, and then declared he had restored it to me on the 
spot ! I mildly but firmly denied the fact ; while his lordship 
as sturdily reasserted it. In a short time, we were both in such 
a passion that Byron commanded me to leave the room. I edged 
out of the apartment with the slow, defying air of angry boy- 
hood ; but when I reached the door, I suddenly turned, and 
looking at him with all the bitterness I felt for his na.tion, called 
him, in French, " an English hog ! " Till then our quarrel had 
been waged in Italian. Hardly were the words out of my mouth 
when his lordship leaped from the bed, and in the scantiest dra- 
pery imaginable, seized me by the collar, inflicting such a shaking 
as I would willingly have exchanged for a tertian ague from the 
Pontine marshes. The sudden air-bath probably cooled his 
choler, for, in a few moments, we found ourselves in a pacific ex- 
planation about the luckless pencil. Hitherto I had not men- 
tioned my uncle ; but the moment I stated the relationship, 
Byron became pacified and credited my story. After searching 
his pockets once more ineffectually for the lost silver^ he present- 
ed me his own gold pencil instead, and requested me to say why 
I " cursed him hi French .'"' 

'' My father was a Frenchman, my lord," said I. 

" And your mother ? " 

" She is an Italian, sir." 

" Ah ! DO wonder, then, you called me an * English hog.' 
The hatred runs in the blood ; you could not help it." 

After a moment's hesitation, he continued, — still pacing the 
apartment in his night linen,- — *' You don't like the English, do 
you, my boy ? " 

" No," said I, '' I don't.' 

** AVhy ? " returned Byron, quietly. 

" Because my father died fighting them," replied I. 



12 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

" Then, youngster, you have a right to hate them," said the 
poet, as he put me gently out of the door, and locked it on the 
inside. 

A week after, one of the porters of my uncle's warehouse 
oifered to sell, at an exorbitant price, what he called " Lord 
Byron's pencil," declaring that his lordship had presented it to 
him. My uncle was on the eve of bargaining with the man, 
when he perceived his own initials on the silver. In fact, it was 
my lost gift. Byron, in his abstraction, had evidently mistaken 
the porter for myself; so the servant was rewarded with a trifling 
gratuity, while my virtuoso uncle took the liberty to appropriate 
the golden relic of Byron to himself, and put me off with the 
humbler remembrance of his honored name. 

These, however, are episodes. Let us return once more to 
the Galatea and her worthy commander. 

Captain Towne retired to Salem after the hands were dis- 
charged, and took me with him to reside in his family until he 
was ready for another voyage. In looking back through the vista 
of a stormy and adventurous life, my memory lights on no hap- 
pier days than those spent in this seafaring emporium. Salem, 
in 1821, was my paradise. I received more kindness, enjoyed 
more juvenile pleasures, and found more affectionate hospitality 
in that comfortable city than I can well describe. Every boy 
was my friend. No one laughed at my broken English, but on 
the contrary, all seemed charmed by my foreign accent. People 
thought proper to surround me with a sort of romantic mystery, 
for, perhaps, there was a flavor of the dashing dare-devil in my 
demeanor, which imparted influence over homelier companions 
Besides this, I soon got the reputation of a scholar. I was con- 
sidered a marvel in languages, inasmuch as I spoke French, Ital- 
ian, Spanish, English, and professed a familiarity with Latin. I 
remember there was a wag in Salem, who, determining one day 
to test my acquaintance with the latter tongue, took me into a 
neighboring druggist's, where there were some Latin volumes, 
and handed me one with the request to translate a page, either 
verbally or on paper. Fortunately, the book he produced was 
^sop, whose fables had been so thoroughly studied by me two 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 13 

years before, that I even knew some of them by heart. Still, as 
I was not very well versed in the niceties of English, I thought 
it prudent to make my version of the selected fable in French ; 
and, as there was a neighbor who knew the latter language per- 
fectly, my translation was soon rendered into English, and the 
proficiency of the " Italian boy " conceded. 

I sailed during five years from Salem on voyages to various 
parts of the world, always employing my leisure, while on shore 
and at sea, in familiarizing myself minutely with the practical 
and scientific details of the profession to which I designed devot- 
ing my life. I do not mean to narrate the adventures of those 
early voyages, but I cannot help setting down a single anecdote 
of that fresh and earnest period, in order to illustrate the 
changes that time and '• circumstances " are said to work on 
human character. 

In my second voyage to India, I was once on shore with the 
captain at Quallahbattoo, in search of pepper, when a large proa^ 
or Malay canoe, arrived at the landing crammed with prisoners, 
from one of the islands. The unfortunate victims were to be 
sold as slaves. They were the first slaves I had seen ! As the 
human cargo was disembarked, I observed one of the Malays 
dragging a handsome young female by the hair along the beach. 
Cramped by long confinement in the wet bottom of the canoe, 
the shrieking girl was unable to stand or walk. My blood was 
up quickly, I ordered the brute to desist from his cruelty ; 
and, as he answered with a derisive laugh, I felled him to the 
earth with a single blow of my boat-hook. This impetuous vin- 
dication of humanity forced us to quit Quallahbattoo in great 
haste ; but, at the age of seventeen, my feelings ia regard to 
slavery were very difi'erent from what this narrative may disclose 
them to have become in later days. 

When my apprenticeship was over, I made two or three suc- 
cessful voyages as mate, until — I am ashamed to say, — that a 
" disappointment " caused me to forsake my employers, and to 
yield to the temptations of reckless adventure. This sad and 
early blight overtook me at Antwerp, — a port rather noted for 



14 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

the backslidings of young seamen. My hard-earned pay soon 
diminished very sensibly, while I was desperately in love with 
a Belgian beauty, who made a complete fool of me — for at least 
three months ! From Antwerp, I betook myself to Paris to vent 
my second " disappointment." The pleasant capital of la belle 
France was a cup that I drained at a single draught. Few young 
men of eighteen or twenty have lived faster. The gaming tables 
at Frascati's and the Palais Royal finished my consumptive 
purse ; and, leaving an empty trunk as a recompense for my 
landlord, I took " French leave" one fine morning, and hastened 
to sea. 

The reader will do me the justice to believe that nothing but 
the direst necessity compelled me to embark on board a British 
vessel, bound to Brazil. The captain and his wife who accom- 
panied him, were both stout, handsome Irish people, of equal 
age, but addicted to fondness for strong and flavored drinks. 

My introduction on board was signalized by the ceremonious 
bestowal upon me of the key of the spirit-locker, with a strict 
injunction from the commander to deny more than three glasses 
daily either to his wife or himself. I hardly comprehended this 
singular order at first, but, in a few days, I became aware of its 
propriety. About eleven o'clock her ladyship generally ap- 
proached when I was serving out the men's ration of gin, and 
requested me to fill her tumbler. Of course, I gallantly com- 
plied. When I returned from deck below with the bottle, she 
again required a similar dose, which, with some reluctance, I fur- 
nished. At dinner the dame drank porter^ but passed oflf the 
gin on her credulous husband as water. This system of decep- 
tion continued as long as the malt liquor lasted, so that her lady- 
ship received and swallowed daily a triple allowance of capital 
grog. Indeed, it is quite astonishing what quantities of the 
article can sometimes be swallowed by seafaring women. The 
oddness of their appetite for the cordials is not a little enhanced 
by the well-known aversion the sex have to spirituous fluids, in 
every shape, on shore. Perhaps the salt air may have something 
to do with the acquired relish ; but, as I am not composing an 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 1 



^ 



essay on temperance, I shall leave the discussion to wiser phy- 
siologists. 

My companions' indulgence illustrated another diversity be- 
tween the sexes, which I believe is historically true from the 
earliest records to the present day. The lady broke her rule, 
but the captain adhered faithfully to his. Whilst on duty, the 
allotted three glasses completed his potations. But when we 
reached Rio de Janeiro, and there was no longer need of absti- 
nence, save for the sake of propriety, both my shipmates gave 
loose to their thirst and tempers. They drank, quarrelled, and 
kissed, with more frequency and fervor than any creatures it has 
been my lot to encounter throughout an adventurous life. After 
we got the vessel into the inner harbor, — though not without 
a mishap, owing to the captain's drunken stubbornness, — my Irish 
friends resolved to take lodgings for a while on shore. For 
two days they did not make their appearance ; but toward the 
close of the third, they returned, " fresh," as they said, " from 
the theatre." It was very evident that the jolly god had been 
their companion ; and, as I was not a little scandalized by the 
conjugal scenes which usually closed these frolics, I hastened to 
order tea under the awning on deck, while I betook myself to a 
hammock which was slung on the main boom. Just as I fell off 
into pleasant dreams, I was roused from my nap by a prelude 
to the opera. Madame gave her lord the lie direct. A loaf of 
bread, discharged against her head across the table, was his 
reply. Not content with this harmless demonstration of rage, 
he seized the four corners of the table cloth, and gathering the 
tea-thiugs and food in the sack, threw the whole overboard into 
the bay. In a flash, the tigress fastened on his scanty locks 
with one hand, while, with the other, she pummelled his eyes and 
nose. Badly used as he was, I must confess that the captain 
proved too generous to retaliate on that portion of his spouse 
where female charms are most bewitching and visible ; still, I 
am much mistaken if the sound spanking she received did not 
elsewhere leave marks of physical vigor that would have been 
creditable to a pugilist. 

It was remarkable that these human tornados were as violent 



16 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

and brief as those which scourge tropical lands as well as tropical 
characters. In a quarter of an hour there was a dead calm. 
The silence of the night, on those still and star-lit waters, was 
only broken by a sort of chirrup, that might have been mistaken 
for a cricket, but which I think was a kiss. Indeed, I was 
rapidly going off again to sleep, when I was called to give the 
key of the spirit-locker, — a glorious resource that never failed as 
a solemn seal of reconciliation and bliss. 

Next morning, before I awoke, the captain went ashore, and 
when his wife, at breakfast, inquired my knowledge of the night's 
affray, my gallantry forced me to confess that I was one of the 
soundest sleepers on earth or water, and, moreover, that I was 
surprised to learn there had been the least difference between 
such happy partners. In spite of my simplicity, the lady in- 
sisted on confiding her griefs, with the assurance that she would 
not have been half so angry had not her spouse foolishly thrown 
her silver spoons into the sea, with the bread and butter. She 
grew quite eloquent on the pleasures of married life, and told me 
of many a similar reproof she had been forced to give her hus- 
band during their voyages. It did him good, she said, and kept 
him wholesome. In fact, she hoped, that if ever I married, I 
would have the luck to win a guardian like herself. Of course, 
I was again most gallantly silent. Still, I could not help reserv- 
ing a decision as to the merits of matrimony ; for present appear- 
ances certainly did not demonstrate the bliss I had so often read 
and heard of. At any rate, I resolved, that if ever I ventured 
upon a trial of love, it should, at least, in the first instance, be 
love without liquor ! 

On our return to Europe we called at Dover for orders, and 
found that Antwerp was our destination. We made sail at sun- 
set, but as the wind was adverse and the weather boisterous, we 
anchored for two days in the Downs. At length, during a lull 
of the gale, we sailed for the mouth of the Scheldt ; but, as we 
approached the coast of Holland, the wind became light and 
baffling, so that we were unable to enter the river. We had 
not taken a pilot at Ramsgate, being confident of obtaining one 
off" Flushing. At sundown, the storm again arose in all its fury 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 17 

from the northwest ; but all attempts to put back to England 
■were unavailing, for we dared not show a rag of sail before the 
howling tempest. It was, indeed, a fearful night of wind, hail, 
darkness, and anxiety. At two o'clock in the morning, we 
suddenly grounded on one of the numerous banks off Flushing. 
Hardly had we struck when the sea made a clean sweep over us, 
covering the decks with sand, and snapping the spars like pipe- 
stems. The captain was killed instantly by the fall of a top-gal- 
lant yard, which crushed his skull ; while the sailors, who in such 
moments seem possessed by utter recklessness, broke into the 
spirit-room and drank to excess. For awhile I had some hope 
that the stanchness of our vessel's hull might enable us to cling 
to her till daylight, but she speedily bilged and began to fill. 

After this it would have been madness to linger. The boats 
were still safe. The long one was quickly filled by the crew, un- 
der the command of the second mate — who threw an anker of 
gin into the craft before he leaped aboard, — while I reserved the 
jolly-boat for myself, the captain's widow, the cook, and the stew- 
ard. The long-boat was never heard of. 

All night long that dreadful nor'wcster howled along and 
lashed the narrow sea between England and the Continent ; yet 
I kept our frail skiflF before it, hoping, at daylight, to descry the 
lowlands of Belgium. The heart-broken woman rested motion- 
less in the stern-sheets. We covered her with all the available 
garments, and, even in the midst of our own griefs, could not 
help feeling that the suddenness of her double desolation had 
made her perfectly unconscious of our dreary surroundings. 

Shortly after eight o'clock a cry of joy announced the sight 
of land within a short distance. The villagers of Bragden, who 
soon descried us, hastened to the beach, and rushing knee-deep 
into the water, signalled that the shore was safe after passing the 
surf. The sea was churned by the storm into a perfect foam. 
Breakers roared, gathered, and poured along like avalanches. 
Still, there was no hope for us but in passing the line of these 
angry sentinels. Accordingly, I watched the swell, and pulling 
firmly, bow on, into the first of the breakers, we spun with such 
arrowy swiftness across the intervening space, that I recollect 



18 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

nothing until we were clasped in the arms of the brawny Belgi- 
ans on the beach. 

But, alas ! the poor widow was no more. I cannot imagine 
when she died. During the four hours of our passage from the 
wreck to land, her head rested on my lap ; yet no spasm of pain 
or convulsion marked the moment of her departure. 

That night the parish priest buried the unfortunate lady, and 
afterwards carried round a plate, asking alms, — not for masses to 
insure the repose of her soul, — but to defray the expenses of 
the living to Ostend. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 19 



• CHAPTER III. 

I HAD no time or temper to be idle. In a week, I was on board 
a Dutch galliot, bound to Havana ; but I soon perceived that I 
was again under the command of two captains — male and female. 
The regular master superintended the navigation, while the 
bloomer controlled the whole of us. Indeed, the dame was the 
actual owner of the craft, and, from skipper to cabin-boy, gov- 
erned not only our actions but our stomachs. I know not 
whether it was piety or economy that swayed her soul, but I 
never met a person who was so rigid as this lady in the obser- 
vance of the church calendar, especially whenever a day of absti- 
nence allowed her to deprive us of our beef. Nothing but my 
destitution compelled me to ship in this craft ; still, to say the 
truth, I had well-nigh given up all idea of returning to the 
United States, and determined to engage in any adventurous ex- 
pedition that my profession oflfered. In 1824, it will be remem- 
bered, Mexico, the Spanish main, Peru, and the Pacific coasts, 
were renowned for the fortunes they bestowed on enterprise ; 
and, as the galliot was bound to Havana, I hailed her as a sort 
of floating bridge to my El Dorado. 

On the seventh night after our departure, while beating out 
of the bay of Biscay with a six-knot breeze, in a clear moonlight, 
we ran foul of a vessel which approached us on the opposite tack. 
Whence she sprang no one could tell. In an instant, she appear- 



20 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

ed and was on us with a dreadful concussion. Every man was 
prostrated on deck and all our masts were carried away. From 
the other vessel we heard shrieks and a cry of despair; but the 
ill-omened miscreant disappeared as rapidly as she approached, 
and left us floating a helpless log, on a sea proverbial for storms. 

We contrived, however, to reach the port of Ferrol, in 
Spain, where we were detained four months, in consequence of the 
difficulty of obtaining the materials for repairs, notwithstanding 
this place is considered the best and largest ship yard of Cas- 
tile. 

It was at Ferrol that I met with a singular adventure, which 
was well-nigh depriving me of my personal identity, as I*eter 
Sehlemhil was deprived of his shadow. I went one afternoon in 
my boat to the other side of the harbor to obtain some pieces of 
leather from a tannery, and, having completed my purchase, was 
lounging slowly towards the quay, when I stopped at a house for 
a drink of water. I was handed a tumbler by the trim-built, 
black-eyed girl, who stood in the doorway, and whose rosy lips 
and sparkling eyes were more the sources of my thirst than the 
water; but, while I was drinking, the damsel ran into the dwel- 
ling, and hastily returned with her mother and another sister, 
who stared at me a moment without saying a word, and simulta- 
neously fell upon my neck, smothering my lips and cheeks 
with repeated kisses ! 

" Oh ! mi querido hijo^'' said the mother. 

" Cari&siino Antonio,''^ sobbed the daughter. 

*' Mi hermano ! " exclaimed her sister. 

" Dear son, dear Antonio, dear brother ! Come into the 
house ; where have you been ? Your grandmother is dying to 
see you once more ! Don't delay an instant, but come in without 
a word ! Por dios ! that we should have caught you at last, and 
in such a way : Ave Maria ! madrecita, aqui viene Antonitol " 

In the midst of all these exclamations, embraces, fondlings, 
and kisses, it may easily be imagined that I stood staring about 
me with wide eyes and mouth, and half drained tumbler in hand, 
like one in a dream. I asked no questions, but as the dame was 
buxom, and the girls were fresh, I kissed in return, and followed 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 21 

unreluctantly as they half dragged, half carried me into their 
domicil. On the door sill of the inner apartment I found myself 
locked in the skinny arms of a brown and withered crone, who 
was said to be my grandmother, and, of course, my youthful 
moustache was properly bedewed with the moisture of her 
toothless mouth. 

As soon as I was seated, I took the liberty to say, — though 
without any protest against this charming assault, — that I 
fancied there might possibly be some mistake ; but I was 
quickly silenced. My madrecita declared at once, and in the 
presence of my four shipmates, that, six years before, I left her 
on my first voyage in a Dutch vessel ; that my querido padre, 
had gone to bliss two years after my departure ; and, according- 
ly, that now, I, Antonio Gomez y Carrasco, was the only sur- 
viving male of the family, and, of course, would never more quit 
either her, my darling sisters, or the old 'pobrecita, our grand- 
mother. This florid explanation was immediately closed like the 
pleasant air of an opera by a new chorus of kisses, nor can 
there be any doubt that I responded to the embraces of my sweet 
hermanas with the most gratifying fraternity. 

Our charming quartette lasted in all its harmony for half an 
hour, during which volley after volley of family secrets was dis- 
charged into my eager ears. So rapid was the talk, and so 
quickly was its thread taken up and spun out by each of the 
three, that I had no opportunity to interpose. At length, 
however, in a momentary lull and in a jocular manner, — but in 
rather bad Spanish, — I ventured to ask my loving and talkative 
mamma, " what amount of property my worthy father had deemed 
proper to leave on earth for his son when he took his departure 
to rest con Dios ? " I thought it possible that this agreeable 
drama was a Spanish joke, got up aV improvista, and that I 
might end it by exploding the dangerous mine of money : besides 
this, it was growing late, and my return to the galliot was 
imperative. 

But alas ! my question brought tears in an instant into my 
mother's eyes, and I saw that the scene was^^o^; a jest. Accordingly, 
I hastened, in all seriousness, to explain and insist on their error. 



22 



CAPTAIN CANOT ) OR, 



I protested with all the force of my Franco-Italian nature and 
Spanish rhetoric, against the assumed relationship. But all 
was unavailing ; they argued and persisted ; they brought in the 
neighbors ; lots of old women and old men, with rusty cloaks or 
shawls, with cigars or cigarillos in mouth, formed a jury of 
inquest ; so that, in the end, there was an unanimous verdict in 
favor of my Galician nativity ! 

Finding matters had indeed taken so serious a turn, and know- 
ing the impossibility of eradicating an impression from the female 
mind when it becomes imbedded with so much apparent con- 
viction, I resolved to yield ; and, assuming the manner of a 
penitent prodigal, I kissed the girls, embraced my mother, 
passed my head over both shoulders of my grand-dame, and 
promised my progenitors a visit next day. 

As I did not keep my word, and two suns descended without 
my return, the imaginary " mother " applied to the ministers of 
law to enforce her rights over the truant boy. The Alcalde^ 
after hearing my story, dismissed the claim ; but my dissatisfied 
relatives summoned me, on appeal, before the governor of the 
district, nor was it without infinite difficulty that I at last 
succeeded in shaking ofi" their annoying consanguinity. 

I have always been at a loss to account for this queer mis- 
take. It is true that my father was in Spain with the French 
army during Napoleon's invasion, but that excellent gentleman 
was a faithful spouse as well as valiant soldier, and I do not 
remember that he ever sojourned in the pleasant port of Fer- 
rol! 

At length, we sailed for Havana, and nothing of importance 
occurred to break the monotony of our hot and sweltering voyage, 
save a sudden flurry of jealousy on the part of the captain, who 
imagined I made an attempt to conquer the pious and economical 
heart of his wife ! In truth, nothing was further from my mind 
or taste than such an enterprise ; but as the demon had complete 
possession of him, and his passion was stimulated by the lies of 
a cabin boy, I was forced to undergo an inquisitorial examina- 
tion, which I resisted manfully but fruitlessly. The Bloomer- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 23 

dame, who knew her man, assumed such an air of outraged 
innocence and calumniated virtue, interlarded with sobs, tears, 
and hysterics, that her perplexed husband was quite at his wit's 
end, but terminated the scene by abruptly ordering me to my 
state-room. 

This was at nightfall. I left the cabin willingly but with 
great mortification ; yet the surly pair eyed each other with 
so much anger that I had some fear for the denouemeMt. I 
know not what passed during the silent watches of that night ; 
but doubtless woman's witchcraft had much to do in pouring oil 
on the seared heart of the skipper. At daylight he emerged 
from his cabin with orders to have the tell tale cabin boy 
soundly thrashed ; and, when Madame mounted the deck, I saw 
at a glance that her influence was completely restored. Nor 
was I neglected in this round of reconciliation. In the course 
of the day, I was requested to resume my duty on board, but I 
stubbornly refused. Indeed, my denial caused the captain great 
uneasiness, for he was a miserable navigator, and, now that we 
approached the Bahamas, my services were chiefly requisite. 
The jealous scamp was urgent in desiring me to forget the past 
and resume duty ; still I declined, especially as his wife infurm- 
ed me in private that there would perhaps be peril in my com- 
pliance. 

The day after we passed the " Hole in the Wall" and steered 
for Salt Key, we obtained no meridian observation, and no one 
on board, except myself, was capable of taking a lunar, which in 
our position, among unknown keys and currents, was of the 
greatest value. I knew this troubled the skipper, yet, after his 
wife's significant warning, I did not think it wise to resume my 
functions. Nevertheless, I secretly made calculations and 
watched the vessel's course. Another day went by without a 
noontide observation ; but, at midnight, I furtively obtained a 
lunar, by the result of which I found we were drifting close to 
the Cuba reefs, about five miles from the Cruz del Padre. 

As soon as I was sure of my calculation and sensible of im- 
minent danger, I did not hesitate to order the second officer, — 
whose watch it was, — to call all hands and tack ship. At the 



24 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

same time, I directed the helmsman to luff the galliot close into 
the wind's eye. 

But the new mate, proud of his command, refused to obey 
until the captain was informed ; nor would he call that ofl&cer, 
inasmuch as no danger was visible ahead on the allotted course. 
But time was precious. Delay would lose us. As I felt confi- 
dent of my opinion, I turned abruptly from the disobedient 
mariners, and letting go the main brace, brought the vessel to 
with the topsail aback. Quickly, then, I ordered the watch as 
it rushed aft, to clew up the mainsail ; — but alas ! no one would 
obey; and, in the fracas, the captain, who rushed on deck igno- 
rant of the facts or danger, ordered me back to my state-room 
with curses for my interference in his skilful navigation. 

With a shrug of my shoulders, I obeyed. Remonstrance was 
useless. For twenty minutes the galliot cleft the waters on her 
old course, when the look-out screamed : " Hard up ! — rocks and 
breakers dead a-head ! " 

" Put down the helm ! " yelled the confused second-mate; — 
but the galliot lost her headway, and, taken aback, shaved the 
edge of a foam-covered rock, dropping astern on a reef with 
seven feet water around her. 

All was consternation ; — sails flapping ; breakers roaring ; 
ropes snapping and beating ; masts creaking ; hull thumping ; 
men shouting ! The captain and his wife were on deck in the 
wink of an eye. Every one issued an order and no one obeyed. 
At last, the lady shouted — " let go the anchor ! " — the worst 
command that could be given, — and down went the best bower 
and the second anchor, while the vessel swung round, and dashed 
flat on both of them. No one seemed to think of clewing up the 
sails, and thereby lessening the impetuous surges of the unfor- 
tunate galliot. 

Our sad mishap occurred about one o'clock in the morning. 
Fortunately there was not much wind and the sea was tolerably 
calm, so that we could recognize, and, in some degree, control 
our situation ; — yet, every thing on board appeared given over 
to Batavian stupidity and panic. 

My own feelings may be understood by those who have calmly 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 25 

passed through danger, "while they beheld their companions un- 
manned by fear or lack of coolness. There was no use of my in- 
terference, for no one would heed me. At last the captain's wife, 
who was probably the most collected individual on board, called 
my name loudly, and in the presence of officers and crew, who, 
by this time were generally crowded on the quarter-deck, en- 
treated me to save her ship ! 

Of course, I sprang to duty. Every sail was clewed up, 
while the anchors were weighed to prevent our thumping on 
them. I next ordered the boats to be lowered ; and, taking a 
crew in one, directed the captain to embark in another to seek an 
escape from our perilous trap. At daylight, we ascertained that 
we had crossed the edge of the reef at high water, yet it would 
be useless to attempt to force her back, as she was already half a 
foot buried in the soft and mushy outcroppings of coral. 

Soon after sunrise, we beheld, at no great distance, one of 
those low sandy keys which are so well known to West Indian 
navigators; while, further in the distance, loomed up the blue 
and beautiful outline of the highlands of Cuba. The sea was 
not much ruffled by swell or waves ; but as we gazed at the key, 
which we supposed deserted, we saw a boat suddenly shoot from 
behind one of its points and approach our wreck. The visitors 
were five in number ; their trim, beautiful boat was completely 
furnished with fishing implements, and four of the hands spoke 
Spanish only, while the patron^ or master, addressed us in French. 
The whole crew were dressed in flannel shirts, the skirts of which 
were belted by a leather strap over their trowsers, and when the 
wind suddenly dashed the flannel aside, I saw they had long 
knives concealed beneath it. 

The patron of these fellows offered to aid us in lightening the 
galliot and depositing the cargo on the key ; where, he said, there 
was a hut in whiqh he would guarantee the safety of our merchan- 
dise until, at the full of the moon, we could float the vessel from 
the reef. He offered, moreover, to pilot us out of harm's way; 
and, for all his services in salvage, we were to pay him a thou- 
sand dollars. 

"While the master was busy making terms, his companions were 
2 



26 # CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

mmmaging the galliot in order to ascertain our cargo and arma- 
ment. It was finally agreed by the captain and his petticoat 
commodore, that if, by evening and the return of tide, our gal- 
liot would not float, we would accept the wreckers' offer ; and, 
accordingly, I was ordered to inform them of the resolution. 

As soon as I stated our assent, the patron^ suddenly assum- 
ed an air of deliberation, and insisted that the money should be 
paid in hard cash on the spot, and not by drafts on Havana, as 
originally required. I thought the demand a significant one, and 
hoped the joint partners would neither yield nor admit their 
ability to do so ; but, unfortunately, they assented at once. The 
nod and wink I saw the •patron immediately bestow on one of 
his companions, satisfied me of the imprudence of the concession 
and the justice of my suspicions. 

The fishermen departed to try their luck on the sea, pro- 
mising to be back at sunset, on their way to the island. We 
spent the day in fruitless efforts to relieve the galliot or to find 
a channel, so that when the Spaniards returned in the afternoon 
with a rather careless reiteration of their proposal, our captam, 
with some eagerness, made his final arrangements for the cargo's 
discharge early next morning. Our skipper had visited the key 
in the course of the day, and finding the place of deposit appa- 
rently safe, and every thing else seemingly honest, he was anx- 
ious that the night might pass in order that the disembarkation 
might begin. 

The calm quiet of that tropic season soon wore away, and, 
when I looked landward, at day-dawn, I perceived two strange 
boats at anchor near the key. As this gave me some uneasiness, 
I mentioned it to the captain and his wife, but they laughed at 
my suspicions. After an early meal we began to discharge our 
heaviest cargo with the fishermen's aid, yet we made little pro- 
gress towards completion by the afternoon. At sunset, accounts 
were compared, and finding a considerable difference in favor 
of the wreckers, I was dispatched ashore to ascertain the error. 
At the landing I was greeted by several new faces. I particu- 
larly observed a Frenchman whom I had not noticed before. He 
addressed me with a courteous offer of refreshijicnts. His man- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 27 

ners and language were evidently those of an educated person, 
while his figure and physiognomy indicated aristocratic habits or 
birth, yet his features and complexion bore the strong imprint 
of that premature old age which always marks a dissipated ca- 
reer. 

After a delightful chat in my mother-tongue with the pleasant 
stranger, he invited me to spend the night on shore, I declined 
politely, and, having rectified the cargo's error, was preparing to 
re-embark, when the Frenchman once more approached and insist- 
ed on my remaining. I again declined, asserting that duty for- 
bade my absence. He then remarked that orders had been left 
by my countryman the patron to detain me ; but if I was so ob- 
stinate as to go, I migJit jjTobably regret it. 

With a laugh, I stepped into my boat, and on reaching the 
galliot, learned that our skipper had imprudently avowed the rich 
nature of our cargo. 

Before leaving the vessel that night, the patron took me 
aside, and inquired whether I received the invitation to pass the 
night on the key, and why I had not accepted it ? To my great 
astonishment, he addressed me in pure Italian ; and when I ex- 
pressed gratitude for his ofi"er, he beset me with questions about 
my country, my parents, my age, my objects in life, and my 
prospects. Once or twice he threw in the ejaculation of, " poor 
boy ! poor boy ! " As he stepped over the tafi"rail to enter his 
boat, I offered my hand, which he first attempted to take, — then 
suddenly stopping, rejected the grasp, and, with an abrupt — 
" No ! addio ! " he spun away in his boat from the galliot's side. 

I could not help putting these things together in my mind 
during the glowing twilight. I felt as if walking in a cold 
shadow ; an unconquerable sense of impending danger oppressed 
me. I trie^ to relieve myself by discussing the signs with the 
captain, but the phlegmatic Hollander only scoffed at my sus- 
picions, and bade me sleep off my nervousness. 

When I set the first night watch, I took good care to place 
every case containing valuables beloiv, and to order the look-out 
to call all hands at the first appearance or sound of a boat. Had 
we been provided with arms, I would have equipped the crew 



28 

with weapons of defence, but, unluckily, there was not on board 
even a rusty firelock or sabre. 

How wondrously calm was all nature that night ! Not a 
breath of air, or a ripple on the water ! The sky was brilliant 
with stars, as if the firmament were strewn with silver dust. 
The full moon, with its glowing disc, hung some fifteen or twenty 
dep;rees above the horizon. The intense stillness weighed upon 
my tired limbs and eyes, while I leaned with my elbows on the 
tafi'rail, watching the roll of the vessel as she swung lazily from 
side to side on the long and weary swell. Every body but the 
watch had retired, and I, too, went to my state-room in hope of 
burying my sorrows in sleep. But the calm night near the land 
had so completely filled my berth with annoying insects, that I was 
obliged to decamp and take refuge in the stay-sail netting, where, 
wrapped in the cool canvas, I was at rest in quicker time than I 
have taken to tell it. 

Notwithstanding my nervous apprehension, a sleep more like 
the torpor of lethargy than natural slumber, fell on me at once. 
I neither stirred nor heard any thing till near two o'clock, when 
a piercing shriek from the deck aroused me. The moon had set, 
but there was light enough to show the decks abaft filled with 
men, though I could distinguish neither their persons nor move- 
ments. Cries of appeal, and moans as of wounded or dying, 
constantly reached me. I roused myself as well and quickly as 
I could from the oppression of my deathlike sleep, and tried to 
shake off the nightmare. The effort assured me that it was 
reality and not a dream ! In an instant, that presence of mind 
which has seldom deserted me, suggested escape. I seized the 
gasket, and dropping by aid of it as softly as I could in the 
water, struck out for shore. It was time. My plunge into the 
sea, notwithstanding its caution, had made some noise, and a 
rough voice called in Spanish to return or I would be shot. 

When I began to go to sea, I took pains to become a good 
swimmer, and my acquired skill served well on this occasion. 
As soon as the voice ceased from the deck, I lay still on the 
water until I saw a flash from the bow of the galliot^ to which I 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 29 

immediately made a complaisant bow by diving deeply. This 
operation I repeated several times, till I was lost in the distant 
darkness ; nor can I pride myself much on my address in escap- 
ing the musket balls, as I have since had my own aim similarly 
eluded by many a harmless duck. 

After swimming about ten minutes, I threw myself on my 
back to rest and " take a fresh departure." It was so dark that 
I could not see the key, yet, as I still discerned the galliot's 
masts relieved against the sky, I was enabled by that beacon to 
steer my way landward. Naked, with the exception of trowsers, 
I had but little difl&culty in swimming, so that in less than half 
an hour, I touched the key, and immediately sought concealment 
in a thick growth of mangroves. 

1 had not been five minutes in this dismal jungle, when such 
a swarm of mosquitoes beset me, that I was forced to hurry to the 
beach and plunge into the water. In this way was I tormented 
the whole night. At dawn, I retreated once more to the bushes; 
and climbing the highest tree I found, — whose altitude, however, 
was not more than twelve feet above the sand, — I beheld, across 
the calm sea, the dismantled hull of my late home, surrounded 
by a crowd of boats, which were rapidly filling with plundered 
merchandise. It was evident that we had fallen a prey to 
pirates ; yet I could not imagine why / had been singled from 
this scene of butchery, to receive the marks of anxious sympathy 
that were manifested by the patron and his French companion on 
the key. All the morning I continued in my comfortless position, 
watching their movements, — occasionally refreshing my parched 
lips by chewing the bitter berries of the thicket. Daylight, with 
its heat, was as intolerable as night, with its venom. The tropical 
sun and the glaring reflection from a wavcless sea, poured through 
the calm atmosphere upon my naked flesh, like boiling oil. My 
thirst was intense. As the afternoon wore away, I observed sev- 
eral boats tow the lightened hull of our galliot southeast of the 
key till it disappeared behind a point of the island. Up to that 
moment, my manhood had not forsaken me ; but, as the last tim- 
ber of my vessel was lost to sight, nature resumed its dominion. 
Every hope of seeing my old companions was gone ; I was utterly 



30 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

alone. If this narrative were designed to be a sentimental con- 
fession, the reader might see unveiled the ghastly spectacle of a 
'' troubled conscience," nor am I ashamed to say that no conso- 
lation cheered my desolate heart, till I prayed to my Maker that 
the loss of so many lives might not be imputed to the wilful 
malice of a proud and stubborn nature. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 31 



CHAPTER IV. 

So passed the day. As the sun sank in the west, I began to re- 
flect about obtaining the rest for mind and body I so much 
needed. My system was almost exhausted by want of food and 
water, while the dreadful tragedy of the preceding night shat- 
tered my nerves far more than they ever suffered amid the try- 
ing scenes I have passed through since. It was my Jirst adven- 
ture of peril and of blood ; and my soul shrank with the natural 
recoil tliat virtue experiences in its earliest encounter with fla- 
grant crime. 

In order to escape the incessant torment of insects, I had 
just determined to bury my naked body in the sand, and to 
cover my head with the only garment I possessed, when I heard 
a noise in the neighboring bushes, and perceived a large and sav- 
age dog rushing rapidly from side to side, with his nose to the 
ground, evidently in search of game or prey. I could not mistake 
the nature of his hunt. With the agility of a harlequin, I sprang 
to my friendly perch just in time to save myself from his fangs. 
The foiled and ferocious beast, yelling with rage, gave an alarm 
which was quickly responded to by other dogs, three of which — 
followed by two armed men — promptly made their appearance 
beneath my tree. The hunters were not surprised at finding me, 
as, in truth, I was the game they sought. Ordering me down, I 
was commanded to march slowly before them, and especially 
warned to make no attempt at flight, as the bloodhounds would 
tear me to pieces on the spot. I told my guard that I should 
of course manifest no such folly as to attempt an escape from 



32 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

caballeros like themselves, — upon a desolate sand key half a mile 
wide, — especially when my alternative refuge could only be found 
among the fish of the sea. The self-possession and good humor 
with which I replied, seemed somewhat to mollify the cross- 
grained savages, and we soon approached a habitation, where I 
was ordered to sit down until the whole party assembled. After 
a while, I was invited to join them in their evening meal. 

The piquant stew upon which we fed effectually loosened 
their tongues, so that, in the course of conversation, I discovered 
my pursuers had been in quest of me since early morning, though 
it was hardly believed I had either escaped the shot, or swam 
fully a mile amid sharks during the darkness. Upon this, I ven- 
tured to put some ordinary questions, but was quickly informed 
that inquisitiveness was considered very unwholesome on the 
sand keys about Cuba ! 

At sunset, the whole piratical community of the little isle was 
assembled. It consisted of two parties, each headed by its respec- 
tive chief Both gangs were apparently subject to the leadership 
of the rancho's proprietor ; and in this man I recognized the jf?a- 
tron who inquired so minutely about my biography and prospects. 
His companions addressed him either as " El senor patron " or 
" Don Rafael." I was surveyed very closely by the picturesque 
group of bandits, who retired into the interior of the rancho^ — 
a hut made of planks and sails rescued from wrecks. My 
guard or sentinel consisted of but a single vagabond, who amused 
himself by whetting a long knife on a hone, and then trying its 
sharpness on a single hair and then on his finger. Sometimes 
the scoundrel made a face at me, and drew the back of his wea- 
pon across his throat. 

The conversation within, which I felt satisfied involved my 
fate, was a long one. I could distinctly overhear the murmuring 
roar of talk, although I could not distinguish words. One sen- 
tence, however, did not escape me, and its signification proved 
particularly interesting : — '' Los muertos^'' said the French dandy, 
— " no hablan^^'' — Dead men tell no tales ! 

It is hard to imagine a situation more trying for a young, 
hearty, and hopeful man. I was half naked ; my skin was ex- 



TWExNTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 33 

coriated by the sun, sand, and salt water; four bloodhounds were 
at my feet ready to fasten on my throat at the bidding of a 
desperado ; a piratical sentry, knife in hand, kept watch over me, 
while a jury of buccaneers discussed my fate within earshot. 
Dante's Inferno had hardly more torments. 

The Jilidiistero conclave lasted quite an hour without reaching 
a conclusion. At length, after an unusual clamor, the patron 
Rafael rushed from the rancho with a horseman's pistol, and, 
calling my name, whirled me behind him in his strong and irre- 
sistible grasp. Then facing both bands, with a terrible impreca- 
tion, he swore vengeance if they persisted in requiring the death 

of IIIS NEPHEW ! 

At the mention of the word " nephew^''^ every one paused 
with a look of surprise, and drawing near the excited man with 
expressions of interest, agreed to respect his new-found relative, 
though they insisted I should swear never to disclose the occur- 
rence of which I had been an unwilling witness. I complied 
with the condition unhesitatingly, and shook hands with every 
one present except the sentry, of whom I shall have occasion to 
speak hereafter. 

It is astonishing what revulsions of manner, if not of feeling, 
take place suddenly among the class of men with whom my lot 
had now been cast. Ten minutes before, they were greedy for 
my blood, not on account of personal malice, but from utter 
recklessness of life whenever an individual interfered with their 
personal hopes or tenure of existence. Each one of these out- 
laws now vied with his companions in finding articles to cover my 
nakedness and make me comfortable. As soon as I was clothed, 
supper was announced and I was given almost a seat of honor at 
a table plentifully spread with fresh fish, sardines, olives, ham, 
cheese, and an abundance of capital claret. 

The chat naturally turned upon me, and some sly jokes were 
uttered at the expense of Rafael, concerning the kinsman who 
had suddenly sprung up like a mushroom out of this pool of 
blood. 

" Caballeros ! " interposed Rafael, passionately, " you seem 
inclined to doubt my word. Perhaps you are no longer disposed 
2* 



34 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

to regard me as your chief ? We have broken bread together 
during four months ; we have shared the same dangers and 
divided our spoils fairly : am I now to be charged to my face 
with a lie ? " " Ha ! " said he, rising from the table and striding 
through the apartment with violent gestures, " who dares doubt 
my word, and impute to me the meanness of a lie ? Are ye 
drunk? Can this wine have made you mad?" and seizing a 
bottle, he dashed it to the ground, stamping with rage. Has the 
blood of last night unsettled your nerves and made you deli- 
rious ? Basta ! basta ! Let me not hear another word of doubt 
as to this youth. The first who utters a syllable of incredulity 
shall kill me on the spot or fall by my hand ! " 

This sounds, I confess, very melo-dramatically, yet, my 
experience has taught me that it is precisely a bold and dash- 
ing tone of bravado, adopted at the right moment, which is 
always most successful among suck ruffians as surrounded my 
preserver. The speech was delivered with such genuine vehe- 
mence and resolution that no one could cxuestion his sincerity or 
suppose him acting. But, as soon as he was done, the leader of 
the other gang, who had been very unconcernedly smoking his 
cigar, and apparently punctuating Don Rafael's oration with his 
little puffs, advanced to my new uncle, and laying his hand on 
his arm, said : — 

" Amigo, you take a joke too seriously. No one here certainly 
desires to harm the boy or disbelieve you. Take my advice, — 
calm yourself, light a cigarillo, drink a tumbler of claret, and 
drop the subject." 

But this process of pacification was too rapid for my excited 
uncle. Men of his quality require to be let down gradually from 
their wrath, for I have frequently noticed that when their object 
is too easily gained, they interpose obstacles and start new sub- 
jects of controversy, so that the most amiable and yielding tem- 
per may at last become inflamed to passionate resistance. 

" No, caballeros ! " exclaimed Don Kafael, " I will neither 
light a cigarillo, drink claret, calm myself, nor accept satisfaction 
for this insult, short of the self-condemnation you will all expe- 
rience for a mean suspicion, when I prove the truth of my asser- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 35 

tions about tbis boy. A doubted man has no business at tho 
head of such fellows as you are. Begone out of my hearing, 
Theodore," continued he, pointing to the canvas door, "begone 
till I convince these people that I am your uncle ! " 

As soon as I was out of the chamber, I afterwards learned, 
that Rafael announced my name, place of birth, and parentage to 
the wreckers, and desired the other patron^ Mesclet, who spoke 
Italian, lo follow and interrogate me as to his accuracy. 

Mesclet performed the service in a kind manner, opening the 
interview by asking the names of my father and mother, and 
then demanding how many uncles I had on my mother's side ? 
My replies appeared satisfactory. 

" Was one of vour uncles a navy officer ? " inquired Mesclet. 
" and where is he at present ? " The only uncle I had in the 
navy, I declared, had long been absent from his family. But 
once in my life had I seen him, and that was while on his way 
to Marseilles, in 1815, to embark for the Spanish main; since 
then no intelligence of the wanderer had reached my ears. Had 
I been a French scholar at that time, my adventures of consan- 
guinity at Ferrol and on this key might well have brought Mo- 
liere's satire to my mind : 

"De moi je commence a douter tout de bon ; 
Pourtant, quand je me tcite et que je me rapelle, 
n me setnhle que je suis moi!" 

Mesclet's report gave perfect satisfaction to the scoffers, and 
the mysterious drama at once established me in a position I 
could not have attained even by desperate services to the jUibus- 
teros. A bumper, all round, closed the night ; and each slunk 
off to his cot or blanket beneath a mosquito bar, while the blood- 
hounds were chained at the door to do double duty as sentinels 
and body guard. 

I hope there are few who will deny me the justice to believe 
that when I stretched my limbs on the hard couch assigned me 
that night, I remembered my God in heaven, and my home in 
Tuscany. It was the first night that an ingenuous youth had 
spent among outcasts, whose hands were still reeking with the 



36 



CAPTAIN CANOT; OR, 



blood of his companions. At that period of manhood we are 
grateful for the mere boon of life. It is pleasant to live, to 
breathe, to have one's being, on this glorious earth, even though 
that life maybe cast among felons. There is still ii future before 
us ; and Hope, the bright goddess of health and enthusiasm, in- 
spires our nerves with energy to conquer our present ills. 

I threw myself down thankfully, but I could not rest. Sore 
and tired as I was, I could not compose my mind to sleep. The 
conduct of Rafael surprised me. I could not imagine how he 
became familiar with my biography, nor could I identify his per- 
sonal appearance with my uncle who went so long before to South 
America. A thousand fancies jumbled themselves in my brain , 
and, in their midst, I fell into slumber. Yet my self-oblivion 
was broken and short. My pulse beat wildly, but my skin did 
not indicate the heat of fever. The tragedy of the galliot was 
reacted before me. Phantoms of the butchered wife and men, 
streaming with blood, stood beside my bed, while a chorus of 
devils, in the garb of sailors, shouted that / was the cause of 
the galliot's loss, and of their murder. Then the wretched 
woman would hang round my neck, and crawl on my breast, be- 
sprinkling me with gore that spouted from her eyeless sockets, 
imploring me to save her ; — till, shrieking and panting, I awoke 
from the horrible nightmare. Such were the dreams that 
haunted my pillow nearly all the time I was forced to remain 
with these desperadoes. 

I thanked God that the night of the tropics was so brief. 
The first glimmer of light found me up, and as soon as I could 
find a companion to control the hounds, I ran to the sea for re- 
freshment by a glorious surf-bath. I was on a miserable sand- 
bar, whose surface was hardly covered with soil ; yet, in that 
prolific land of rain and sunshine, nature seems only to require 
the slightest footing to assert her magnificent power of vegeta- 
tion. In spots, along the arid island, were the most beautiful 
groves of abundant undergrowth, matted with broad-leaved vines, 
while, within their shadow, the fresh herbage sprang up, sparkling 
with morning dew. In those climates, the blaze of noon is a 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 37 

season of oppr^sive languor, but morning and evening, with their 
dawn and twilight, — their lengthened shadows and declining sun, 
are draughts of beauty that have often intoxicated less enthusias- 
tic tempers than mine. The bath, the breeze, the renewed nature, 
aroused and restored a degree of tone to my shattered nerves, 
so that when I reached the rancho^ I was ready for any duty that 
might be imposed. The twin gangs had gone off in their boats 
soon after daylight, with saws and axes ; but Rafael left orders 
with my brutal sentry that I should assist him in preparing 
breakfast, which was to be ready by eleven o'clock. 

I never knew the real patronymic of this fellow, who was a 
Spaniard, and passed among us by the nickname of Gallego. 
Gallego possessed a good figure, — symmetrical and strong, while 
it was lithe and active. But his head and face were the most 
repulsive I ever encountered. The fellow was not absolutely 
ugly, so far as mere contour of features was concerned ; but 
there was so dropsical a bloat in his cheeks, such a stagnant 
sallowness in his complexion, such a watching scowl in his eyes, 
such a drawling suUenness of speech, such sensuality in the turn 
of his resolute lips, that I trembled to know he was to be my 
daily companion. His dress and skin denoted slovenly habits, 
while a rude and growling voice gave token of the bitter heart 
that kept the enginery of the brute in motion. 

With this wretch for chef de cuisine^ I was exalted to the 
post of " cook's mate." 

I found that a fire had been already kindled beneath some 
dwarf trees, and that a kettle was set over it to boil. Gallego 
beckoned me to follow him into a thicket some distance from the 
rancho^ where, beneath the protection of a large tarpaulin, we 
found the fi/ibustero^s pantry amply provided with butter, onions, 
spices, salt-fish, bacon, lard, rice, coffee, wines, and all the requi- 
sites of comfortable living. In the corners, strewn at random on 
the ground, I observed spy-glasses, compasses, sea-charts, books, 
and a quantity of choice cabin-furniture. We obtained a suffi- 
ciency of water for cookery and drinking from holes dug in the 
sand, and we managed to cool the beverage by suspending it in 



38 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

a draft of air in porous vessels, which are known throughout the 
West Indies by the mischievous name of " monkeys.'' Our 
copious thickets supplied us with fuel, nor were we without a 
small, rough garden, in which the gang cultivated peppers, toma- 
toes and mint. The premises being reviewed, I retarned with 
my ill-favored guard to take a lesson in piratical cookery. 

It is astonishing how well these wandering vagabonds know 
how to toss up a savory mess, and how admirably they under- 
stand its enjoyment. A tickled palate is one of the great objects 
of their mere animal existence, and they are generally prepared 
with a mate who might pass muster in a second-rate restaurant. 
The d(jeuner we served of codfish stewed in claret, snowy and 
granulated rice, delicious tomatoes and fried ham, was irreproach- 
able. Coffee had been drunk at day dawn ; so that my comrades 
contented themselves during the meal with liberal potations of 
claret, while they finished the morning with brandy and cigars. 

By two o'clock the breakfast was over, and most of the gorged 
scamps had retired for a siesta during the sweltering heat. A 
few of the toughest took muskets and went to the beach to shoot 
gulls or sharks. Gallego and myself were dispatched to our 
grove-kitchen to scullionize our utensils ; and, finally, being the 
youngest, I was intrusted with the honorable duty of feeding the 
blood-hounds. 

As soon as my duties were over, I was preparing to follow 
the siesta-example of my betters, when I met Don Rafael coming 
out of the door, and, without a word, was beckoned to follow to- 
wards the interior of the island. When we reached a solitary 
spot, two or three hundred yards from the ranclio^ Rafael drew 
me down beside him in the shade of a tree, and said gently with 
a smile, that he supposed I was at least surprised by the events 
of the last four days. I must confess that I saw little for any 
thing else but astonishment in them, and I took the liberty to 
concede that fact to the Don. 

'' Well," continued he, " I have brought you here to explain 
a part of the mystery, and especially to let you understand why 
it was that I passed myself off last night as your uncle, in order 
to save your life. I was obliged to do it, boy; and, voto a £Hos! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 39 

I would have fought the junta^ — bloodhounds and all, — before 
they should have harmed a limb of your body ! " 

Don Rafael explained that as soon as he caught a glimpse of 
my face when he boarded the galliot on the morning of our dis- 
aster, he recognized the lineaments of an old companion in 
arms. The resemblance caused him to address me as partic- 
ularly as he had done on the night of the piracy, the conse- 
quence of which was that his suspicions ripened into certainty. 

If I were writing the story of Don Rafael's life, instead of 
my own, I might give an interesting and instructive narrative, 
which showed, — as he alleged, — how those potent controllers of 
outlaws, — " circumstances," — had changed him from a very re- 
spectable soldier of fortune into a genuine buccaneer. He as- 
serted that my uncle had been his schoolmate and professional 
companion in the old world. When the war of South American 
independence demanded the aid of certain Dugald Dalgettys to 
help its fortune, Don Rafael and ra}'^ uncle had lent the revolu- 
tionists of Mexico their swords, for which they were repaid in 
the coin that " patriots " commonly receive for such amiable 
self-sacrifice. Rejniblics are proverbially ungrateful, and Mex- 
ico, alas ! was a republic. 

After many a buffet of fortune, my poor uncle, it seems, per- 
ished in a duel at which Don Rafael performed the professional 
part of " his friend." My relation died, of course, like a "man 
of honor," and soon after, Don Rafael, himself, fell a victim to 
the " circumstances " which, in the end, enabled him to slaugh- 
ter my shipmates and save my life. 

I must admit that I use this flippant tone with a twinge of 
sorrow, for I think I perceived certain spasms of conscience dur- 
ing our interview, which proved that, among the lees of that 
withered heart, there were some rich drops of manhood ready to 
mantle his cheek with shame at our surroundings. Indeed, as 
he disclosed his story, he exhibited several outbursts of passion- 
ate agony which satisfied me that if Don Rafael were in Paris^ 
Don Rafael would have been a most respectable bourgeois ; 
while, doubtless, there were many estimable citizens at that mo- 
ment in Paris, who would have given up their shops in order to 



40 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

become Don Rafaels in Cuba ! Such is life — and " circum- 
stances ! " 

Our chat wasted a large portion of the afternoon. It was 
terminated by a counsel from my friend to be wary in my deport- 
ment, and a direction to console myself with the idea that he did 
not mean I should tarry long upon the island. 

" You see," said he, " that I do not lack force of eye, voice, 
and personal influence over these ruffians ; yet I do not know 
that I can always serve or save a friend, so your fate hangs very 
much on your circumspection. Men in our situation are Ishmael- 
ites. Our hands are not only against all, and all against us, but 
we do not know the minute when we may be all against each 
other. The power of habitual control may do much for a 
leader among such men ; but such an one must neither quail 
nor deceive. Therefore, beware \ Let none of your actions 
mar my projects. Let them never suspect the truth of our 
consanguinity. Call me " uncle ; " and in my mouth you shall 
always be " Theodore." Ask no questions ; be civil, cheerful, 
and serviceable about the rancho ; never establish an intimacy, 
confidence, or friendship with any one of the band ; stifle your 
feelings and your tears if you ever find them rising to your lips 
or eyes ; talk as little as you possibly can ; avoid that smooth- 
tongued Frenchman ; keep away from our revels, and refrain 
entirely from wine. 

" I charge you to be specially watchful of Gallego, the cook. 
He is our man of dirty work, — a shameless coward, though re- 
vengeful as a cat. If it shall ever happen that you come in col- 
lision with him, strike first and well : no one cares for him ; 
even his death will make no stir. Take this cuchillo^ — it is 
sharp and reliable ; keep it near you day and night ; and, in 
self-defence^ do not hesitate to make good use of it. In a few 
days, I may say more to you ; until then, — corragio figlio, i 
addio .' " 

We returned to the rancho by different paths. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 41 



CHAPTER V. 

The life of men under the ban of society, on a desolate 
sand key, whose only visitors are land-crabs and sea-gulls, is 
a dull and dreary affair. The genuine pirate, properly equipped 
for a desperate lot, who has his swift keel beneath him and is 
wafted wheresoever he lists on canvas wings, encounters, it is 
true, an existence of peril ; yet there is something exhilarating 
and romantic in his- dashing career of incessant peril : he is ever 
on the wing, and ever amid novelty ; there is something about 
his life that smacks of genuine warfare, and his existence becomes 
as much more respectable as the old-fashioned highwayman on 
his mettlesome steed was superior to the sneaking footpad, who 
leaped from behind a thicket and bade the unarmed pedestrian 
stand and deliver. But the wrecker-pirate takes his victim at a 
disadvantage, for he is not a genuine freebooter of the sea. He 
shuns an able foe and strikes the crippled. Like the shark and 
the eagle, he delights to prey on the carcass, rather than to strike 
the living quarry. 

TJ]e companionship into which misfortune had thrown me was 
precisely of this character, and I gladly confess that I was never 
tempted for a moment to bind up my fate with the sorry gang. 
I confided, it is true, in Rafael's promise to liberate me ; yet I 
never abandoned the hope of escape by my own tact and energy. 

Meanwhile, I became heartily tired of my scullion duties as 
the subordinate of Gallego. Finding one day a chest of carpen- 



42 

ters' tools among the rubbish, I busied myself in making a rud- 
der for one of the boats, and so ^vell did I succeed, that when 
mj companions returned to breakfast from their daily " fishing," 
my mechanical skill was lauded to such a degree that Rafael 
converted the general enthusiasm to my advantage by separating 
me from the cook. I was raised to the head of our " naval 
bureau " as boatbuilder in chief. Indeed, it was admitted on 
all hands that I was abler with the adze than the ladle and 
spoiled fewer boards than broths. 

A few days passed, during which I learned that our unfor- 
tunate galliot was gradually emptied and destroyed. This 
was the usual morning occupation of the whole gang until 
the enterprise ended. When the job was over Don Rafael told 
me that he was about to depart hurriedly on business with the 
whole company, to the mainland of Cuba, so that, during his 
absence, the island and its property would be left in custody of 
Gallego, myself, and the bloodhounds. He specially charged the 
cook to keep sober, and to give a good account of himself at the 
end o^Jive days^ which would terminate his absence. 

But no sooner was the /j«^;ro?z away, than the lazy scamp neg- 
lected his duties, skulked all day among the bushes, and refused 
even to furnish my food or supply the dogs. Of course, I speed- 
ily attended to the welfare of myself and the animals ; but, at 
night, the surly Galician came home, prepared his own supper, 
drank till he was completely drunk, and retired without uttering 
a word. 

I was glad that he yielded to the temptation of liquor, as I 
hoped he would thereby become incapable of harming me during 
the watches of the night, if weariness compelled me to sleep. 
He was a malignant wretch, and his taciturnity and ill-will ap- 
peared so ominous now that I was left utterly alone, that I 
resolved, if possible, to keep awake, and not to trust to luck or 
liquor. The galliot's tragedy and anxiety stood me in stead, so 
that I did not close my eyes in sleep the whole of that dreary 
vigil. About midnight, Gallego stealthily approached ray cot, 
and pausing a moment to assure himself that I was in the pro- 
found repose which I admirable feigned, he turned on tip-toe to 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 43 

the door of our cabin, and disappeared with a large bundle in his 
hand. He did not return until near day dawn : and, next night, 
the same act was exactly repeated. 

The mysterious sullenness of this vagabond not only alarmed, 
but increased m}' nervousness, for I can assure the reader that, 
on a desolate island, without a companion but a single outcast, 
one would rather hear the sound of that wretch's voice than be 
doomed to the silence of such inhuman solitude. During the 
day he kept entirely aloof, — generally at sea fishing, — affording 
me time for a long siesta in a nook near the shore, penetrated 
by a thorny path, which Gallego could not have traced without 
hounds. On the fourth night, when the pirate left our hut for 
his accustomed excursion, I resolved to follow ; and taking a 
pistol with renewed priming, I pursued his steps at a safe dis- 
tance, till I saw him enter a thick shrubbery, in which he was 
lost. I marked the spot and returned to the cabin. Next 
morning, after coffee, Gallego departed in his canoe to fish. I 
watched him anxiously from the beach until he anchored about 
two miles from the reef, and then calling the dogs, retraced my 
way to the thicket. The hounds were of great service, for, 
having placed them on the track, they instantly traced the path 
of the surly scoundrel. 

After some trouble in passing the dense copse of underwood, 
I entered a large patch of naked sand, broken by heaps of stones, 
which appeared to cover graves. One heap bore the form of a 
cross, and was probably the sepulchre of a wrecker. I stopped 
awhile and reflected as to further explorations. On entering this 
arid graveyard, I observed a number of land-crabs scamper away ; 
but, after awhile, when I sat down in a corner and became per- 
fectly quiet, I noticed that the army returned to the field and 
introduced themselves into all the heaps of stones or graves save 
one. This struck me as singular ; for, when people are so hope- 
lessly alone as I was, they become minute observers, and derive 
infinite happiness from the consideration of the merest trifles. 
Accordingly, I ventured close to the abandoned heap, and found 
at once that the neighboring sand had been freshly smoothed. 
I was on Gallego's track ! In dread of detection, I stealthily 



44 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

climbed a tree, and, screening myself behind the foliage, peered 
out towards the sea till I beheld the cook at work beyond the 
reef. My musket and pistols were again examined and found in 
order. With these precautions, I began to remove the stones, 
taking care to mark their relative positions so that I might re- 
place them exactly ; and, in about ten minutes work at excava- 
tion, I came upon tw^o barrels, one of which was filled with bun- 
dles of silk, linens, and handkerchiefs, while the other contained 
a chronometer, several pieces of valuable lace, and a beautifully 
bound, gilt, and ornamented Bible. One bundle, tied in a Madras 
handkerchief, particularly attracted my attention, for I thought 
I recognized the covering. Within it I found a number of trin- 
kets belonging to the wife of my Dutch captain, and a large hair- 
pin, set with diamonds, which I remember she wore the last day 
of her life. Had this wretch torn it from her head, as he im- 
brued his hands in her blood on that terrible night ? The pain- 
ful revelation brought all before me once more with appalling 
force. I shuddered and became sick. Yet, I had no time for 
maudlin dalliance with my feelings. Replacing every thing with 
precision, and smoothing the sand once more M'ith my flannel 
shirt, I returned to the rancho, where I indulged in the boyish 
but honest outburst of nature which I could no longer restrain. 
I was not then — and, thank God, I am not now — a stranger to 
tears ! To the world, the human heart and the human eye, like 
the coral isle of the Atlantic, may be parched and withered ; 
yet, beneath the seared and arid surface, the living water still 
flows and gushes, when the rock and the heart alike are stricken ! 

Just before sunset of this day, the deep baying of our hounds 
gave notice of approaching strangers ; and, soon after, four boats 
appeared in the cove. The two foremost belonged to Don Rafael 
and his crew, while the others were filled with strangers whose 
appearance was that of landsmen rather than mariners. As 
Rafael received them on the beach, he introduced them to me as 
his especial pets, the " AMrniBious jews." 

Our delicious supper of that night was augmented by a fine 
store of beef, pork and fowls, brought from shore. I lingered at 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 45 

table as long as the company maintained a decent sobriety, and 
learned that these saltwater Hebrews were, in truth, speculators 
from Cardenas, who accompanied Rafael in the guise of fisher- 
men, to purchase the plundered cargo of my galliot. 

During his visit to Cuba, Don Rafael was apprised that the 
Cuban authorities were about sending an Inspector among the 
islands oflF the coast, and accordingly took precaution to furnish 
himself in advance with a regular " fishing license." All hands 
were forthwith set to w^ork to make our key and rancho conform 
to this calling, and, in a few days, the canvas roof of our hut 
was replaced by a thatch of leaves, while every dangerous article 
or implement was concealed in the thicket of a labyrinthine creek. 
In fact, our piscatory character could not be doubted. In our 
persons and occupation, we looked as innocent and rustic as a 
pic-nic party on a summer bivouac for fresh air and salt bathing. 
Nor was the transformation less real in regard to our daily tasks. 
We became, in reality, most industrious fishermen ; so that we 
had more than a thousand of the finny tribe piled up and dried, 
when the hounds signalled the arrival of the expected oflBcials. 

Breakfast was on the table when they landed, but it was the 
banyan meal of humble men, whose nets were never filled with 
aught but the scaly products of the sea. Our inspector was 
regaled with a scant fish-feast, and allowed to digest it over the 
genuine license. Rafael complained sadly of hard times and 
poverty; — in fact, the drama of humility was played to perfec- 
tion, and, finally, the functionary signed our license, with a cer- 
tificate of our loyalty, and pocketed a moderate " gratification " 
oi five ounces ! 

Six long, hot, and wretched weeks passed over my head before 
any striking occurrence relieved the monotony of my life. 
During the whole of this period, our fishing adventure was 
steadily pursued, when information was mysteriously brought to 
the key that a richly-laden French vessel had run ashore on 
the Cayo Verde, an islet some forty miles east of the Cruz del 
Padre. That afternoon, both of our large boats were filled 
with armed men, and, as they departed with every wrecker 



46 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

aboard, I alone was left on the islet to guard our property with 
the dogs. 

The thought and hope of escape both swelled in my breast 
as I saw the hulls dwindle to a dot and disappear behind the 
horizon. In a moment, my plan was conceived and perfected. 
The sea was perfectly smooth, and I was expert in the use of oars. 
That very night I launched our canoe, — the only vessel left in 
the cove, — and placing the sail, scullers, and grappling-hook 
within it, returned to the rancho for clothing. As it was dark, 
I lighted a candle, when, on looking into the clothes-chest 
beneath my bed, I found inscribed on the lid, in fresh chalk- 
marks, the words " Patience ! wait ! " 

This discovery made me pause in my preparations. Was it 
the warning — as it was certainly the handwriting — of Rafael ? 
Had he purposely and honorably left me alone, in order to escape 
this scene of blood ? Did he anticipate my effort to fly, and en- 
deavor to save me from the double risk of crossing to the main- 
land, and of future provision for my comfort ? I could not doubt 
its being the work of my friend ; and, whether it was superstition 
or prudence, I cannot say, but I resolved, unhesitatingly, to 
abandon a scheme in regard to which I hesitated. Instead, 
therefore, of attempting to pass the strait between the key and 
Cuba, I went to bed, and slept more comfortably in my utter 
abandonment than I had done since I was on the island. 

Next day, at noon, I descried a small pilot-boat sailing inside 
the reef, with all the confidence of a perfect master of the chan- 
nel. Two persons speedily landed, with provisions from the 
mainland, and stated that, on his last visit to Cuba, Don Rafael 
engaged them to take me to Havana. This, however, was to bo 
done with much caution, inasmuch as his men would not assent 
to my departure until they had compromised my life with theirs 
by some act of desperate guilt. The pilots declined taking me 
then without my guardian's assent; — and, in truth, so fully was 
I convinced of his intention to liberate me in the best and speed- 
iest way, that I made up my mind to abide where I was till he 
returned. 

For three days more I was doomed to solitude. On the 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 47 

fourth, the boats came back, with the pilot's cutter, and I quickly 
saw that a serious encounter had taken place. The pilot-boat 
appeared to be deeply laden. Next day, she was taken to the 
mazes of the winding and wooded creek, where, I learned, the 
booty was disembarked and hidden. While the party had gone 
to complete this portion of their enterprise, the Frenchman, who 
was wounded in the head and remained behind, took that oppor- 
tunity to enlighten me on passing events. When the wreckers 
reached Cayo Verde, they found the French vessel already taken 
possession of by " fishermen " of that quarter. Anticipated in 
their dirty work, our comrades were in no mood to be sociable 
with the fortunate party. An affray was the natural result, in 
which knives had been freely used, while Mesclet himself had 
been rescued by Rafael, pistol in hand, after receiving the violent 
blow on his head from which he was now suffering. Having se- 
cured a retreat to their boats, they were just beginning to think 
of a rapid departure, when the friendly pilot-boat hove in sight. 
So fortunate a reinforcement renerved our gang. A plan of 
united action was quickly concerted. The French vessel was 
again boarded and carried. Two of the opposite party were 
slain in the onslaught; and, finally, a rich remnant of the cargo 
was seized, though the greater part of the valuables had, no 
doubt, been previously dispatched ashore by the earlier band of 
desperadoes. 

" Thank God ! " added the narrator, " we have now the boat 
and the assistance of Bachicha, who is as brave as Rafael : with 
his " Baltimore clipper ^^ we shall conduct our affairs on a grander 
scale than heretofore. Sacrebleu I we may now cruise under the 
Columbian flag, and rob Peter to pay Paul ! " 

In fact, the " clipper " had brought down an ample store of 
ammunition, under the innocent name of " provisions," while she 
carried in her bowels a long six, which she was ready to mount 
amidships at a momcLt's notice. 

But poor Mesclet did not live to enjoy the fruits of the larger 
piracy, which he hoped to carry on in a more elegant way with 
Bachicha. The roue could not be restrained from the favorite 
beverages of his beautiful France. His wound soon mastered 



48 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

him; and, in a month, all that was mortal of this gallant Gaul, 
who, in earlier years, had figured in the best saloons of his coun- 
try, rested among sand-graves of a Cuban key. 

" Ah ! " growled Gallego, as they came home from his burial, 
" there is one less to share our earnings ; and, what is better, 
claret and brandy will be more plentiful now that this sponge is 
under the sand ! " 

In a few days, the boats were laden with fish for the main- 
land, in order to cover the real object of our patroiVs visit to 
Cuba, which was to dispose of the booty. At his departure, he 
repeated the cherished promise of liberty, and privately hinted 
that I had better continue fishing on good terms with Senor Gal- 
lego. 

It required some time to repair the nets, for they had been 
rather neglected during our late fishing, so that it was not, in 
fact, until Rafael had been three days gone that I took the canoe 
with Gallego, and dropped anchor outside the reef, to take break- 
fast before beginning our labor. 

We had hardly begun a frugal meal when, suddenly, a large 
schooner shot from behind a bend of the island, and steered 
in our direction. As the surly Spaniard never spoke, I had 
become accustomed to be equally silent. Unexpectedly, how- 
ever, he gave a scowling glance from beneath his shaggy brows 
at the vessel, and exclaimed with unusual energy: "A Columbian 
privateer 1 " 

" We had best up anchor, and get inside the reef," continued 
he, " or our sport will be spoiled for the day." 

" Pshaw ! " returned I, " she's not making for us, and, even 
if she were, I wouldn't be such a coward as to run ! " Indeed, 
I had heard so much of " Columbian privateers " and the patriot 
service, that I rather longed to be captured, that I might try my 
hand at lawful war and glory. The impulse was sudden and 
silly. 

Still Gallego insisted on retreating ; until, at length, we got 
into an angry controversy, which the cook, who was in the bow 
of the boat, attempted to end by cutting the anchor-rope. As 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 49 

he was drawing his knife to execute this purpose, I swiftly lifted 
an oar, and, with a single blow, laid him senseless in the bottom 
of the canoe. By this time the schooner was within pistol-shot ; 
and, as she passed with a three-knot breeze, the captain, who had 
witnessed the scene, threw a grappling-iron into our skiff, and 
taking us in tow, dragged the boat from its moorings. 

As soon as we got into deeper water, I was ordered on deck, 
while Gallego, still quite insensible, was hoisted carefully on 
board. I told the truth as to our dispute, reserving, however, 
the important fact that I had been originally urged into the quar- 
rel by my anxiety " to ship " on board a privateer. 

" I want a pilot for Key West," said the master, hurriedly, 
" and I have no time to trifle with your stupid quarrels. Can 
either of you perform this service ? " 

By this time Gallego had been somewhat roused from his 
stupor, and pointing feebly towards me, uttered a languid : — 
*' Yes, and an excellent one." 

Mistaking the word " "pilote^^ which in Spanish signifies 
" navigator," the French captain, who spoke the Castilian very 
badly, translated it into the more limited meaning attached to 
that peculiar profession, one of whose miuuters he was anxious 
to secure. 

" Ban ! " said the master, " put the other fellow back into 
his skiff, and make sail at once under charge of this youngster." 

I remonstrated, protested, declaimed, swore, that I knew no- 
thing of Key West and its approaches ; but all my efforts were 
vain. I was a pilot in spite of myself 

The malicious cook enjoyed the joke of which I had so has- 
tily become the victim. As they lowered him again into the 
boat, he jeered at my incredulity, and in ten minutes was towed 
to the edge of the reef, where the scamp was turned adrift to 
make for the island. 

When the schooner was once more under full sail, I was or- 
dered to give the course for Key West. I at once informed the 
captain, whose name I understood to be Lamine, that he really 
labored under a mistake in translating the Spanish word pilote 
into port guide, and assured him that Gallego had been prompted 
3 



60 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

by a double desire to get rid of him as well as me by fostering 
bis pernicious error. I acknowledged that I was a " pilot^'''' or 
"navigator," though not a ^^ practico,'''' or harbor-pilot; yet I 
urged that I could not, without absolute foolhardiness, undertake 
to conduct his schooner into a port of which I was utterly igno- 
rant, and had never visited. Hereupon the first lieutenant or 
mate interposed. This fellow was a short, stout-built person of 
thirty-five, with reddish whiskers and hair, a long-projecting un- 
der-jaw, and eye-teeth that jutted out like tusks. To add to his 
ugliness, he was sadly pitted by small-pox, and waddled about on 
short duck legs, which were altogether out of proportion to his 
long body, immense arms, and broad, massive shoulders. I do 
not remember a more vulgarly repulsive person than this pri- 
vateering lieutenant. 

" He is a liar, Captain Lamine, and only wants to extort 
money for his services," interjected the brute. " Leave him to 
me, sir ; I'll find a way to refresh his memory of Key West that 
will open the bottom of the gulf to his eyes as clearly as the 
pathway to his piratical hut on the sand-key ! To the helm, 
sir — to the helm ! " 

What possible, qbject or result could I gain by resistance 
amid the motley assemblage that surrounded me on the deck of 
the " CapvA-bobo ? " She was a craft of about 200 tons ; and, 
with her crew of seventy-five, composed of the scourings of all 
nations, castes, and colors, bore a commission from the author- 
ities of Carthagena to burn, sink and destroy all Spanish prop- 
erty she was strong enough to capture. Lamine was born in 
the isle of France, while Lasquetti, the lieutenant, was a 
Creole of Pensacola. The latter spoke French and Spanish quite 
well, but very little English ; while both master and mate were 
almost entirely ignorant of navigation, having intrusted that task 
to the third lieutenant, who was then ill with yellow fever. The 
second lieutenant was absent on board a prize. 

Thus forced to take charge of a privateer without a moment's 
warning, I submitted with the best grace, and, calling for charts 
and instruments, I shaped my way for the destined port. All 
day we steered west-north-west, but at sunset, as we had run 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 51 

along smartly, I ordered the schooner to be " laid to " for the 
night. The wind and weather were both charmingly fair, and 
objections were of course made to my command. But, as the 
most difficult part of our navigation was to be encountered during 
the night, if I kept on my course, I resolved to persist to the 
last in my resolution, and I was fortunate enough to carry my 
point. 

'• D — n you," said Lasquetti, as the vessel was brought to the 
wind and made snug for the night, " d — n you. Master Teodore; 
this laying-to shall give you no rest, at least, if you thought to 
dodge work, and get into a hammock by means of it ! You shall 
march the deck all night to see that we don't drift on a reef, if 
I have to sit up, or stand up till day-dawn to watch you ! " 

Obedience, alas ! had been the order of the day with me for 
a long while ; so I promenaded the lee quarter till nearly mid- 
night, when, utterly exhausted by fatigue, I sat down on a long 
brass chaser, and almost instantly fell asleep. 

I know not how long I rested, but a tremendous shock 
knocked me from the cannon and laid me flat on the deck, bleed- 
ing from mouth, nose and ears. Lasquetti stood beside me, 
cigar in hand, laughing immoderately, blaspheming like a demon, 
and kicking me in the ribs with his rough wet-weather boots. 
He had detected me asleep, and touched off the gun with his 
havanna ! 

The explosion aroused all hands, and brought the commander 
on deck. My blood flowed, but it did not pour fast enough to 
relieve my agonizing rage. As soon as I recovered conscious- 
ness, I seized the first heavy implement I could grasp, and rushed 
at my aggressor, whose skull was saved from the blow by de- 
scending beneath the combings of the hatchway, which, the in- 
stant after, were shivered by the descent of my heavy weapon. 
Lamine was a man of some sensibility, and, though selfish, as 
usual with his set, could not avoid at once reprimanding Lasquetti 
with uncommon severity in presence of his men. 

That afternoon, I was fortunate enough, by the aid of a good 
chart, and a sort of navigating instinct^ to anchor the " Oara- 
bobo " in the narrow harbor of Key West. When Lamine went 



52 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

ashore, he ordered me not to leave the schooner, while sentries 
were placed to prevent boats from boarding or even approaching 
us. Hardly was the master out of the vessel before two men 
seized me as I looked at the shore through a telescope. In the 
twinkling of an eye, I was hurried below and double-ironed ; nor 
would I have received a morsel of food save bread and water 
during our detention, had I not been secretly fed by some good 
fellows from the forecastle, who stole to me after dark with the 
remnant of their rations. This was the cowardly revenge of 
Lasquetti. 

On the third day, Lamine returned, bringing an American 
pilot for the coast and islands. I was set at liberty as he was 
seen approaching ; and when we got under way on another 
cruise, I was commanded to do duty as sailing-master, which I 
promptly refused with spirited indignation, until I received sat- 
isfaction from the dastard lieutenant. But this fellow had taken 
care to forestall me, by assuring Lamine that he never dreamed 
of securing me until I was caught in the very act of escaping 
from the schooner ! 

During a week's cruise of indifferent success with these 
" patriots," I won the kind heart of the American pilot, who 
heard the story of my late adventures with patience ; and, through 
his influence with'the commander, my lot was mitigated, notwith- 
standing my refusal to do duty. By this time, the third lieuten- 
ant was restored to sufficient health to resume the deck. He 
was a native of Spain and a gallant sailor. Many an hour did 
he pass beside me, recounting his adventures or listening to 
mine, until I seemed to win his sympathy, and insure his assist- 
ance for relief from this miserable tyranny. 

At length, the schooner's course was shaped for the Cruz del 
Padre, while I was summoned to the cabin. I perceived at once 
a singular change for the better in Monsieur Lamine 's manner. 
He requested me to be seated ; pressed me to accept a tumbler 
of claret ; inquired about my health, and ended this harmonious 
overture by saying, that if I would sign a document exonerating 
him from all charges of compulsory detention or ill-treatment, he 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 53 

would pay mc two hundred dollars for my service, and land me 
again on the key. 

I promptly saw that his object in replacing me on the island 
was to prevent my complaints against his conduct from reaching 
the ears of a tribunal in a neutral port ; and, accordingly, I 
declined the proposition, — demanding, however, to be put on 
board of any vessel we met, no matter what might be her nation- 
ality. I sternly refused his money, and insisted that my only 
desire was to be free from his brutal officer. 

But Lamine was in power and I was not. In the end. I 
discovered that worse consequences might befall me among these 
ruffians, if I hesitated to take the recompense and sign the 
paper. In fact, I began to be quite satisfied that, in reality, it 
was an escape to be freed from the privateer, even if I took 
refuge once more among pirates ! 

So, after a good deal of claret and controversy had been 
wasted, I signed the document and pocketed the cash. 

As the first bars of safi'ron streaked the east next morning, 
the reef of the Cruz del Padre hove in sight dead ahead. The 
third lieutenant presented me at my departure with a set of 
charts, a sp3'-glass, a quadrant, and a large bag of clothes ; while, 
in the breast of a rich silk waistcoat, he concealed three ounces 
and a silver watch, which he desired me to wear in honor of him, 
if ever I was fortunate enough to tread the streets of Havana. 
Several of the white sailors also offered me useful garments ; and 
a black fellow, who had charge of the boat in which I was sent 
ashore, forced on me two sovereigns, which he considered a small 
gratuity to " a countryman " in distress. He hailed from Mar- 
blehead, and protested that he knew me in Salem when I was a 
lad. 

As the boat approached the ranclio's cove, I perceived every 
body under arms, and heard Don Rafael command my boatmen, 
in a loud, imperious voice, to begone, or he would fire. Standing 
on the thwarts of the boat, I ordered the oarsmen to back water, 
and leaping into the sea, waist-deep, struggled alone to the beach, 
calling " mi tio ! mi tio ! '' — ^'tny uncle ! Don Rafael ! " — who, 
recognizing my voice and gestures, promptly rushed forward to 



54 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

embrace me. Our boat was then allowed to approacli the land- 
ing and disburthen itself of the gifts. I thought it best to 
request my sable ally from Marblehead to narrate, in as good 
Spanish or lingua-franca as he could press into his service, the 
whole story of my capture and the conduct of Gallego. This 
being done, the boat and its crew were dispatched aboard with a 
multitude of Spanish courtesies and the substantial gift of some 
Chateau Margaux. 

After an early supper, I became the lion of the evening, and 
was requested to give a narrative of my cruise in the " patriot 
service." I noticed that some of the gang looked on me askance 
with an incredulous air, while others amused themselves by 
smoking and spitting in a very contemptuous way whenever I 
reached what I conceived to be a thrilling portion of my story. 
At its conclusion, I arose and deposited in the hands of Don 
Rafael my gifts of two hundred dollars and the two sovereigns. 
This evidence of reciprocity seemed to restore the good temper 
of" my impatient hearers, so that, by the time the 2)(itron went 
round the circle, giving each man his share of my earnings, — not 
even omitting Gallego, — my credit was almost restored among 
the gang. 

" As for these two pieces of gold, these charts, instruments 
and clothes," said Don Rafael, " they are the property of the 
youth, and I am sure none of you are mean enough to divide 
them. The money was another thing. That was his earning, as 
the ' fishing revenue ' is ours ; and as he is entitled to a share 
of what we gain, we are entitled to participate in whatever he 
wins. Yet, amigos, this is not all. My nephew, caballeros, has 
been accused, by one of this party, during his absence, of being 
not only a contemptible thief, but a traitor and coward. Now, 
as these are three ' blasphemous vituperations ' which are not to 
be found under any head in my prayer-book, and never were 
chargeable on the blood of our family, I insist on immediate jus- 
tice to my kinsman. Let that cowardly scoundrel repeat and 
prove his accusation of Teodore, face to face ! You, senores, 
shall stand judges. Every thing shall be fair. To-night, my 
boy shall be found guilty or purged of the baseness imputed to 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 55 

him ; and, moreover, I apprise you now, that if he is innocent, I 
shall to-morrow restore him to liberty. His voluntary return 
was a voucher of honesty ; and I doubt whether there is a clever 
man among you who does not agree with me. Stand forth, Gal- 
lego, and charge this youth again with the infamy you heaped on 
him while he was away." 

But the sullen wretch bowed his head, with a hang-dog look, 
and rolled his black and bushy skull slowly from side to side, 
with an air of bullying defiance. Still he remained perfectly 
silent. 

" Stand forth, Gallego, once more, I say ! " shouted Don 
Rafael, stamping with fury and foaming at the mouth ; " stand 
forth, imp of the devil, and make good your charge, or I'll trice 
you up to these rafters by your thumbs, and lash you with a cow- 
hide till your stretched skin peels off in ribbons ! " 

The threat restored Gall'ego's voice ; but he could only say 
that there was no use in repeating the charges, because the case 
was prejudged, and all feared Don Rafael and his parasite to 
such a degree that it was impossible to treat him with justice. 
" Yet, look ye, seHores, if I can't talk, I can fight. If Don Rafael 
is ready to meet me, knife in hand, in support of my cause, why, 
all I have to say is, that I am ready for him and his bastard 
to boot ! " 

In a moment, Rafael's knife was out of his belt, and the two 
sprang forward in a death-struggle, which would doubtless have 
been a short affair, had not the whole party interposed between 
the combatants and forbidden the fight. In the hurly burly, 
Gallego took to his heels and departed. 

The scoundrel's escape caused some alarm in the camp, as it 
was feared he might leave the island, and, turning king's evi- 
dence, make the waters of Cuba too hot for the band. Accord- 
ingly, all the canoes and boats that night were drawn up on the 
beach and kept under double watch. 

When order was restored in the rancho^ I asked Don Rafael 
to explain the " three accusations " that had been made against 
my fair fame ; when I learned that I was charged by Gallego 
with having felled him in the boat, with having shipped volun- 



56 

tarily in the privateer, and with returning in the Cara-bobo's 
boats to rob the rancho of its valuables I 

The first of the allegations I admitted to be true; the second 
had been disproved by the privateer's boatmen ;' and, as to the 
third, I at once insisted upon the party's taking torches and 
accompanying me to the graveyard, where, I told them, they 
would find — as, in truth, they did — the valuables this villain had 
charged me with stealing. On our way thither, I recouiiied the 
manner in which I detected his infamy. 

Next morning we divided into two parties, and taking the 
dogs, proceeded in chase of the dastard Galician. He was 
quickly tracked by the hounds and caught asleep, with two empty 
flasks beside him. 

A drum-head court-martial at once convened for his trial, and 
it was unanimously resolved to chain him to a tree, where he was 
to be left exposed to the elements until he starved to death. 
The passive and silent fit had again come over Gallego. I im- 
plored that the sentence might be softened, but I was laughed at 
for my childish pity, and ordered home to the rancho. The com- 
mand to chain him having been executed, the Spanish outcast 
was left to his terrible fate. One of the men, out of compassion, 
as he said, secretly conveyed a case of gin to the doomed man, 
and left it within reach, either to solace his departure from the 
world, or to render him insensible. But his end was speedy. 
Next morning the guard found him dead, with six empty bottles 
out of the case. His body was denied the rites of sepulture. 
It was left lying in chains as he perished, to rot in the sun and 
be devoured by the insects generated from his decay. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 67 



CHAPTER VI. 

When these dreadful scenes were over, Don Rafael took me 
aside with the pleasant news that the time for my liberation was 
indeed arrived. He handed me one hundred and twenty-five 
dollars, which were my share of the proceeds of our lawful 
fishing. " Take the money," said Rafael, with a good deal of 
feeling; " take it, young man, with jye^/cc^ confidence; — th.crc is 
no blood on it .'" 

My preparations for departure were quickly made, as Bachi- 
cha was in the cove with his craft ready to take me to the main- 
land. I bade a hasty adieu to the gang ; and perhaps it is rare 
that any one ever abandoned the companions of several months' 
intimacy with so little pain. Rafael's solicitude for my character 
touched me. He had done all in his power to preserve my self- 
respect, and I was, therefore, well disposed to regard the good 
counsel he gave me at parting, and to believe in his sincerity 
when he pictured a bright future, and contrasted it with his own 
desolation and remorse. 

•' I have recommended you, hijo mio, to a friend in Regla, 
on the opposite side of the harbor at Havana, who will take 
care of you. He is a paisano of ours. Take these additional 
ten ounces, which are the fruit of honest labor. They will help 
you to appear properly in Havana ; so that, with the care of 
Bachicha and our Regla countryman, I don't despair of your 
welfare. Adios ! para siempre ! " 
3* 



58 CAPTAIN canot; or. 

And so we parted ; — and it was, indeed, an adieu for ever. 
We never met again, but I heard of Don Rafael and bis fortunes. 
The new enterprise with the pilot-boat turned out successfully, 
and the band acquired considerable property on the island before 
the piratical nests along the coast of Cuba were broken up by 
cruisers. Rafael had some narrow escapes from the noose and 
the yard-arm ; but he eluded the grasp of his pursuers, and died 
a respectable ranchero on a comfortable farm in the interior of 
the Queen of the Antilles. 

The light winds of summer soon brought us inside the Moro 
Castle, past the frowning batteries of the Cabanas, and at 
anchor near Regla, within the beautiful harbor of Havana. I 
shall never forget the impression made on my mind by this deli- 
cious scene as it first broke on my sight at sunrise, in all the cool 
freshness of morning. The grand amphitheatre of hills swept 
down to the calm and lake-like water with gentle slopes, lapped 
in the velvet robes of richest green, and embroidered, as it were, 
with lace-like spots of castle, fort, dwelling, and villa, until the 
seaward points were terminated on the left, by the brilliant city, 
and on the right by a pile of majestic batteries. 

This grand and lasting impression was made almost at a 
glance, for, at my time of life, I was more concerned with man 
than nature, and rarely paused to dwell on the most fascinating 
scenery. Accordingly, I hastened to Regla with my letter of 
introduction, which was interpreted by Bachicha to the Italian 
grocer, the friend of Rafael, to whom I was confided. II signore 
Carlo Cibo was an illiterate man of kind heart, who had adven- 
turously emigrated from Italy to furnish the Havanese with good 
things ; while, in return, the Havanese had been so pleased with 
his provender, that Carlo may be said to have been a man " very 
well to do in the world "for a foreigner. He received me with 
unbounded kindness ; — welcomed me to his bachelor home ; — 
apologized for its cold cheerlessness, and ordered me to consider 
himself and his " casa " entirely at my disposal as long as I 
chose to remain. 

I was content to accept this unstinted hospitality for a few 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 59 

days, while I ran over the town, the hills, and the paseos ; but I 
could not consent to dally long eating the bread of idleness and 
charity. I observed that my friend Carlo was either the most 
prudent or least inquisitive man I knew, for he never asked me a 
question about my early or recent history. As he would not 
lead the conversation to my affairs, I one day took the liberty to 
inquire whether there was a vessel in port bound to the Pacific 
Ocean or Mexico, in which my protector could possibly find a 
situation for me as an ofiicer, or procure me permission to work 
my way even as a common sailor. 

The kind grocer instantly divined my true motive, and while 
he honored me for it, deprecated the idea of my departure. He 
said that my visit, instead of being a burden, was a pleasure he 
could not soon replace. As to the expenses of his house, he 
declared they were, in fact, not increased. What fed five, fed 
half a dozen ; and, as to my proposal to go to Mexico, or any 
other place in Spanish America on the Continent, with a view of 
" making my fortune," he warmly protested against it, in con- 
sequence of his own experience. 

" They can never conquer their jealousy oi foreigners^'''' said 
Carlo ; " you may live with them for years, and imagine your- 
self as intimate as brothers ; but, at last, carramba^ you will 
find something turn up, that marks you an alien and kindles 
nationality against you. Take my advice, Don Teodore, stay 
where you are ; study Spanish carefully ; get the hang of the 
people ; and, my life on it, before long, you'll have your hands 
full of trump cards and the game in your power." 

I did as he desired, and was presented to a corpulent 
old quiz of a padre^ who pretended to instruct me in classical 
Castilian. Two lessons demonstrated his incapacity ; but as he 
was a jolly gossip of my grocer, and hail-fellow with the whole 
village of Regla, I thought it good policy to continue his pupil 
in appearance, while I taught myself in private. Besides this, 
the padre was a bon vivant and devoted lover of fish. Now, as 
I happened to be a good sportsman, with a canoe at my com- 
mand, I managed to supply his kitchen with an abundance of 
the finny tribe, which his cook was an adept in preparing. It 



60 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

may be supposed that our " fast days " were especial epochs of 
delicious reunion. A fine dinner smoked on the table ; a good 
bottle was added by the grocer ; and, while my entertainer dis- 
cussed the viands, I contrived to keep him in continual chat, 
which, in reality, was the best practical lesson a man in my 
circumstances could receive. 

It is strange how our lives and destinies are often decided by 
trifles. As I sailed about the harbor in idleness, my nautical 
eye and taste were struck by the trim rig of the sharp built 
" slavers," which, at that time, used to congregate at Havana. 
There was something bewitching to my mind in their race-horse 
beauty. A splendid vessel has always had the same influence on 
my mind, that I have heard a splendid woman has on the minds 
of other men. These dashing slavers^ with their arrowy hulls 
and raking masts, got complete possession of my fancy. There 
was hardly a day that I did not come home with a discovery of 
added charms. Signor Carlo listened in silence and nodded his 
head, when I was done, with an approving smile and a 
" bueno ! " 

I continued my sailing peregrinations for a month around the 
harbor, when my kind entertainer invited me to accompany him 
aboard a vessel of which, he said, he owned two shares — she 
was hotcnd to Africa I The splendid clipper was one of the very 
craft that had won my heart ; and my feverish soul was com- 
pletely upset by the gala-scene as we drifted down the bay, par- 
taking of a famous breakfast, and quaffing bumpers of Cham- 
pagne to the schooner's luck. When she passed the Moro Cas- 
tle we leaped into our boats, and gave the voyagers three hearty 
and tipsy cheers. My grocer was a " slaver ! " 

I had a thousand questions for the Italian in regard to the 
trade, now that I found he belonged to the fraternity. All my 
inquiries were gratified in his usually amiable manner ; and that 
night, in my dreams, I was on board of a coaster chased by 
John Bull. 

My mind was made up. Mexico, Peru, South American in- 
dependence, patriotism, and all that, were given to the breezes 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 61 

of the gulf. I slept off my headache and nightmare ; and next 
morning announced to Cibo my abandonment of the Costa 
Firma, and my anxiety to get a situation in a vessel bound to 
Africa. 

In a few days I was told that my wishes would perhaps be 
gratified, as a fast vessel from the Canaries was about to be 
sold ; and if she went off a bargain, Signer Carlo had resolved 
to purchase her, with a friend, to send to Africa. 

Accordingly, the Canary '' Globo " was acquired for $3000 ; 
and after a perfect refitting at the Casa-Blanca of Havana, 
loomed in the harbor as a respectable pilot-boat of forty tons. 
Her name, in consequence of reputed speed, was changed to " El 
Areostatico ; " a culverine was placed amidships; all the requi- 
sites for a slave cargo were put on board ; fifteen sailors, the re- 
fuse of the press-gang and jail-birds, were shipped ; powder, am- 
munition, and small arms, were abundantly supplied; and, last 
of all, four kegs, ballasted with specie, were conveyed into the 
cabin to purchase our return cargo. 

It was on the 2d of September, 182G, after a charming de- 
jeuner, that I bade farewell to my friend Carlo on the deck of 
the Areostatico, cleared for the Cape de Verd isles, but, in 
truth, bound for the Rio Pongo. Our orew consisted of twenty- 
one scamps — Spaniards, Portuguese, Frenchmen, and mongrels. 
The Majorcan captain was an odd character to intrust with such 
an enterprise, and probably nowhere else, save in Havana at 
that period, would he have been allowed to command a slaver. 
He was a scientific navigator, but no sailor ; — afraid of his 
shadow, he had not a particle of confidence in his own judgment ; 
every body was listened to, and he readily yielded his opinions 
without argument or controversy. Our chief ofl&cer, a Catalonian 
cousin of the captain, made no pretensions to seamanship, yet he 
was a good mathematician. I still remember the laughs 1 had 
at the care he took of his lily-white hands, and the jokes we 
cracked upon his girl-like manners, voice, and conversation. The 
boatswain, who was in his watch, assured me that he rarely gave 
an order without humming it out to a tune of some favorite 
opera. 



62 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

In this fantastic group, I occupied the position of supernu- 
merary officer and interpreter ; but accustomed, as I had been, 
to wholesome American seamanship and discipline, I trembled 
not a little when I discovered the amazing ignorance of the mas- 
ter, and observed the utter worthlessness of our crew. These 
things made me doubly vigilant ; and sometimes I grieved that 
I was not still in Regla, or on the paseo. On the tenth day out, 
a northwester began to pipe and ripen to a gale as the sea rose 
with it. Sail had been soon diminished on the schooner; but 
when I was relieved in my watch by the first officer, I hinted. to 
the captain that it would be best to lay the vessel to as soon as 
possible. We had been scudding before the tempest for some 
hours under a close-reefed foresail, and I feared if we did not 
bring our craft to the wind at once, we would either run her un- 
der, or be swamped in attempting the manoeuvre when the waves 
got higher. The captain, however, with his usual submission to 
the views of the wrong person, took the advice of the helmsman, 
who happened to be older than I, and the schooner was allowed 
to dash on either through or over the seas, at the speed of a 
racer. 

By this time the forward deck was always under water, and 
the men gathered abaft the trunk to keep as dry as possible. 
Officers and crew were huddled together pell-mell, and, with our 
usual loose discipline, every body joined in the conversation and 
counsel. Before sundown I again advised the laying to of the 
schooner ; but the task had now become so formidable that the 
men, who dreaded the job, assured the captain that the wind 
would fall as the moon arose. Yet, when the dim orb appeared 
above the thick, low-drifting scud, the gale increased. The 
light rather limited than revealed the frightful scene around that 
egg-shell on the lashed and furious sea. Each wave swept over 
us, but our buoyant craft rose on the succeeding swell, and cleft 
its crest with her knife-like prow. It was now too late to at- 
tempt bringing her to the wind ; still it became more urgent to 
do something to prevent us from being submerged by the huge 
seas, which came thundering after us like avalanches on our 
quarters. 



TWENTY' YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 63 

The perilous dilemma of our doubtful captain and his dainty- 
mate, may be easily imagined. Every body had an opinion, and 
of course they vied with each other in absurdity ; — at last some 
one proposed to cut away the foresail, and bring her to the wind 
under bare poles. 

I was " conning " the schooner when this insane scheme was 
broached, and fearing that the captain might adopt it, I leaped 
on the hatch, after calling the boatswain to my place, and as- 
sured the crew that if they severed the sail, we would lose com- 
mand of the vessel, so that with impaired headway, the next 
wave that struck her would show her keel to the skies and her 
deck to the fishes. I exhorted them to drive her faster if pos- 
sible rather than stop. To turn out the " balance reef," I said, 
was our only salvation ; — and I alleged that I had seen a vessel 
saved before in precisely the same way. Cowards, with death 
clutching their throats, were soon convinced by a man of nerve. 
I availed myself of the instantaneous silence that followed my 
act, and before the captain could think or speak, I leaped to the 
boom with my sharp knife, cutting the reef-points slowly and 
carefully, so as not to allow the foresail to be inflated and torn by 
a single blast. 

My judgment was correct. Our increased canvas immediately 
sent us skimming over the waves ; the rollers no longer combed 
dangerously over our quarter ; we scudded steadily throughout 
the remnant of the gale ; and, next night, at sundown, we rested 
on a quiet, lake-like ocean, taughtening the strained rigging, and 
priding ourselves mightily on the hazards we encountered and 
overcame. The Minorcan skipper was satisfied that no man ever 
before performed so daring an exploit. He was, moreover, con- 
vinced, that no one but himself could have carried the schooner 
through so frightful a storm, or would have invented the noble 
expedient of driving instead of stripping her ! 

From this hour all semblance of regular discipline was aban- 
doned. Sailors, who are suff"ered to tread the quarter-deck familiarly 
and offer their opinions, never get over the permitted freedom. Our 
ragamuffins of the Aerostatico could never abide the idea that the 
youngest seaman aboard, — and he, too, 2^ foreigner, — should have 



64 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

proved the best sailor. The skilful performance of my duty was 
the source of a rankling grudge. As I would not mix with the 
scamps, they called me arrogant. My orders were negligently 
obeyed ; and, in fact, every thing in the schooner became as 
comfortless as possible. 

Forty-one days, however, brought us to the end of our voyage 
at the mouth of the Rio Pongo. No one being acquainted with 
the river's entrance or navigation, the captain and four hands 
went ashore for a pilot, who came off in the afternoon, while our 
master ascended in a boat to the slave-factory at Bangalang. 
Four o'clock found us entering the Rio Pongo, with tide and 
wind in our favor, so that before the sun sank into the Atlantic 
Ocean we were safe at our anchorage below the settlement. 

While we were slowly drifting between the river banks, and 
watching the gorgeous vegetation of Africa, which, that evening, 
first burst upon my sight, I fell into a chat with the native pilot, 
who had been in the United States, and spoke English remarka- 
bly well Berak very soon inquired whether there was any one 
else on board who spoke the language besides myself, and when 
told that the cabin-boy alone knew it, he whispered a story which, 
in truth, I was not in the least surprised to hear. 

That afternoon one of our crew had attempted the captain's 
life, while on shore, by snapping a carabine behind his back ! 
Our pilot learned the fact from a native who followed the party 
from the landing, along the beach; and its truth was confirmed, 
in his belief, by the significant boasts made by the tallest of the 
boatmen who accompanied him on board. He was satisfied that 
the entire gang contemplated our schooner's seizure. 

The pilot's story corroborated some hints I received from 
our cook during the voyage. It struck me instantly, that if a 
crime like this were really designed, no opportunity for its ex- 
ecution could be more propitious than the present. I determined, 
therefore, to omit no precaution that might save the vessel and 
the lives of her honest ofl&cers. On examining the carabines 
brought back from shore, which I had hurriedly thrown into the 
arm- chest on deck, I found that the lock of this armory had been 
forced, and several pistols and cutlasses abstracted. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 65 

Preparations had undoubtedly been made to assassinate us. 
As night drew on, my judgment, as well as nervousness^ con- 
vinced me that the darkness would not pass without a murderous 
attempt. There was an unusual silence. On reaching port, 
there is commonly fun and merriment among crews ; but the 
usual song and invariable guitar were omitted from the evening's 
entertainment. I searched the deck carefully, yet but two ma- 
riners were found above the hatches apparently asleep. Inasmuch 
as I was only a subordinate officer, I could not command, nor 
h?d I any confidence in the nerve or judgment of the chief mate, 
if I trusted my information to him. Still I deemed it a duty 
to tell him the story, as well as my discovery about the missing 
arms. Accordingly, I called the first officer, boatswain, and cook, 
as quietly as possible, into the cabin ; leaving our English cabin- 
boy to watch in the companion way. Here I imparted our dan- 
ger, and asked their assistance in striking the first blow. My plan 
was to secure the crew, and give them battle. The mate, as I 
expected, shrank like a girl, declining any step till the captain 
returned. The cook and boatswain, however, silently approved 
my movement ; so that we counselled our cowardly comrade to 
remain below, while we assumed the responsibility and risk of 
the enterprise. 

It may have been rather rash, but I resolved to begin the 
rescue, by shooting down, like a dog and without a word, the 
notorious Cuban convict who had attempted the captain's life. 
This, I thought, would strike panic into the mutineers ; and 
end the mutiny in the most bloodless way. Drawing a pair of 
large horse-pistols from beneath the captain's pillow, and ex- 
amining the load, I ordered the cook and boatswain to follow me 
to the deck. But the craven officer would not quit his hold on 
my person. He besought me not to commit murder. He clung 
to me with the panting fear and grasp of a woman. He begged 
me, with every term of endearment, to desist ; and, in the midst 
of my scuffle to throw him off, one of the pistols accidentally ex- 
ploded. A moment after, my vigilant watch-boy screamed from 
the starboard, a warning " look-out ! " and, peering forward in the 
blinding darkness as I emerged from the lighted cabin, I beheld the 



66 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

stalwart form of the ringleader, brandishing a cutlass within a 
stride of me. I aimed and fired. We both fell : the mutineer 
with two balls in his abdomen, and I from the recoil of an over- 
charged pistol. 

My face was cut, and my eye injured by the concussion ; but 
as neither combatant was deprived of consciousness, in a moment 
we were both on our feet. The Spanish felon, however, pressed 
his hand on his bowels, and rushed forward exclaiming he was 
slain ; but, in his descent to the forecastle, he was stabbed in 
the shoulder with a bayonet by the boatswain, whose vigorous 
blow drove the weapon with such tremendous force that it could 
hardly be withdrawn from the scoundrel's carcass. 

I said I was up in a minute ; and, feeling my face with my 
hand, I perceived a quantity of blood on my cheek, around which 
I hastily tied a handkerchief, below my eyes. I then rushed to 
the arm-chest. At that moment, the crack of a pistol, and a 
sharp, boyish cry, told me that my pet was wounded beside me. 
I laid him behind the hatchway, and returned to the charge. 
By this time I was blind with rage, and fought, it seems, like a 
madman. I confess that I have no personal recollection what- 
ever of the following events, and only learned them from the 
subsequent report of the cook and boatswain. 

I stood, they said, over the arm chest like one spell-bound. 
My eyes were fixed on the forecastle ; and, as head after head 
loomed out of the darkness above the hatch, I discharged cara- 
bine after carabine at the mark. Every thing that moved fell by 
my aim. As I fired the weapons, I flung them away to grasp 
fresh ones : and, when the battle was over, the cook aroused me 
from my mad stupor, still groping wildly for arms in the emptied 
chest. 

As the smoke cleared off, the fore part of our schooner seemed 
utterly deserted ; yet we found two men dead, one in mortal 
agony on the deck, while the ringleader and a colleague were 
gasping in the forecastle. Six pistols had been fired against us 
from fotward ; but, strange to say, the only efl&cient ball was the 
one that struck my English boy's leg. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 67 

When I came to my senses, my first quest was for the gallant 
boatswain, who, being unarmed on the forecastle when the unex- 
pected discharge took place, and seeing no chance of escape from 
my murderous carabines, took refuge over the bows. 

Our cabin-boy was soon quieted. The mutineers needed but 
little care for their hopeless wounds, while the felon chief, like all 
such wretches, died in an agony of despicable fear, shrieking for 
pardon. My shriving of his sins was a speedy rite ! 

Such was my first night in Africa ! 



68 CArXAlN CANOT ; OR, 



CHAPTER VII. 

There are casual readers who may consider the scene describad 
in the last chapter unnatural. It may be said that a youth, 
whose life had been checquered by trials and disasters, but who 
preserved a pure sensibility throughout them, is sadly distorted 
when portrayed as expanding, at a leap, into a desperado. I 
have but little to say in reply to these objections, save that the 
occurrences are perfectly true as stated, and, moreover, that I 
am satisfied they were only the natural developments of my 
character. 

From my earliest years I have adored nobility of soul, and 
detested dishonor and treachery. I have passed through scenes 
which will be hereafter told, that the world may qualify by harsh 
names ; yet I have striven to conduct myself throughout them, 
not only Avith the ideas of fairness current among reckless men, 
but with the truth that, under all circumstances, characterizes 
an honorable nature. 

Now, the tragedy of my first night on the Rio Pongo was 
my transition from pupilage to responsible independence. I do 
not allege in a boastful spirit that I was a man of courage ; be- 
cause courage, or the want of it, are things for which a person 
is no more responsible than he is for the possession or lack of 
physical strength. I was, moreover, always a man of what I 
may style self-possessed 2^^ssion. I was endowed with something 
more than cool energy ; or, rather, cool energy was heightened 
and sublimated by the fire of an ardent nature. Hitherto, 
I had been tempered down by the habitual obedience to which !• 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 69 

was subjected as a sailor under lawful discipline. But the 
events of the last six months, and especially the gross relaxation 
on the vo3^age to Africa, the risks we had run in navigating the 
vessel, and the outlaws that surrounded me, not only kept my 
mind for ever on the alert, but aroused my dormant nature to a 
full sense of duty and self-protection. 

Is it unnatural, then, for a man whose heart and nerves have 
been laid bare for months, to quiver with agony and respond 
with headlong violence, when imperilled character, property and 
life, hang upon the fiat of his courageous promptitude ? The 
doubters may cavil over -the philosophy, but I think I may 
remain content with the fact. / did my duty — dreadful as 
it was. 

Let me draw a veil over our gory decks when the gorgeous 
sun of Africa shot his first rays through the magnificent trees 
and herbage that hemmed the placid river. Five bodies were 
cast into the stream, and the traces of the tragedy obliterated as 
well as possible. The recreant mate, who plunged into the 
cabin at the report of the first pistol from the forecastle, reap- 
peared with haggard looks and trembling frame, to protest that 
Jlc had no hand in what he called " the murder." The cook, 
boatswain, and African pilot, recounted the whole transaction to 
the master, who inserted it in the log-book, and caused me to sign 
the narrative with unimplicated witnesses. Then the wound of 
the cabin-boy was examined and found to be trifling, while mine, 
though not painful, was thought to imperil my sight. The flint 
lock of a rebounding pistol had inflicted three gashes, just be- 
lieath the eye on my cheek. 

There was but little appetite for breakfast that day. After 
the story was told and recorded, we went sadly to work unmoor- 
ing the vessel, bringing her slowly like a hearse to an anchorage 
in front of Bangalang, the residence and factory of Mr. Or- 
mond, bettcc^nown by the country-name of " Mongo John." 
This personage came on board early in the morning with our 
returned captain, and promised to send a native doctor to cure 
both my eye and the boy's leg, making me pledge him a visit as 
soon as the vessel's duties would permit. 



70 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

That evening the specie was landed, and the schooner left in 
my charge by the master, with orders to strip, repair, and pro- 
vide for the voyage home. Before night, Mongo John fulfilled 
his promise of a physician, who came on board with his prescrip- 
tion, — not in his pocket, but by his side ! He ordered my torn 
cheek to be bathed, every half hour, ivith human milk fresh 
from tJie breast ; and, in order to secure a prompt, pure, and 
plentiful supply, a stout negress and her infant were sent, with 
orders to remain as long as her lacteal services might be re- 
quired ! I cannot say whether nature or the remedy healed my 
wound, but in a short time the flesh cicatrized, and all symptoms 
of inflammation disappeared entirely. 

It required ten days to put the Areostatico in ship-shape and 
supply her with wood and water. Provisions had been brought 
from Havana, so that it was only necessary we should stow them 
in an accessible manner. As our schooner was extremely small, 
we possessed no slave-deck; accordingly, mats were spread over 
the fire-wood which filled the interstices of the water casks, in 
order to make an even surface for our cargo's repose. 

When my tiresome task was done, I went ashore — almost for 
the first time — to report progress to the master; but he was still 
unprepared to embark his living freight. Large sums, far in 
advance of the usual market, were offered by him for a cargo of 
boys ; still we were delayed full twenty days longer than our 
contract required before a supply reached Bangalang. 

As I had promised Mongo John^ or John the Chief, to visit 
his factory, I took this opportunity to fulfil my pledge. He 
received me with elaborate politeness; showed me hts to\yn, 
barracoons, and stores, and even stretched a point, to honor me 
by an introduction to the penetralia of his harem. The visit 
paid, he insisted that I should dine with him ; and a couple 
of choice bottles were quickly disposed of. Ormond, like 
myself, had been a sailor. We spoke of the lands, scenes, and 
adventures, each had passed through, while a fresh bottle was 
called to fillip our memories. There is nothing so nourishing to 
friendship as wine ! Before sundown our eleotrife memories had 
circled the globe, and our intimacy culminated. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 71 

While the rosy fluid operated as a sedative on the Mongo, 
and glued him to his chair in a comfortable nap, it had a con- 
trary effect on my exhilarated nerves. I strolled to the verandah 
to get a breath of fresh air from the river, but soon dashed off 
in the darkness to the sacred precincts of the harem I I was 
not detected till I reached nearly the centre of the sanctuary 
where Ormond confined his motley group of black, mulatto, and 
quarteroon wives. The first dame who perceived me was a 
bright mulatto, with rosy cheeks, sloe-like eyes, coquettish 
turban, and most voluptuous mouth, whom I afterwards dis- 
covered to be second in the chief's affections. In an instant the 
court resounded with a chattering call to her companions, so that, 
before I could turn, the whole band of gabbling parrots hemmed 
me in with a deluge of talk. Fame had preceded me ! My 
sable nurse was a servant of the harem, and her visit to the 
schooner, with the tale of the tragedy, supplied anecdotes for a 
lifetime. Every body was on the qui vive to see the " white 
fighter." Every body was crazy to feel the *' white skin " she 
had healed. Then, with a sudden, childish freak of caprice, 
they ran off from me as if afraid, and at once rushed back 
again like a flock of glib-tongued and playful monkeys. I could 
not comprehend a word they said ; but the bevy squealed with 
quite as much pleasure as if I did, and peered into my eyes for 
answers, with impish devilry at my wondering ignorance. 

At last, my sable friends seemed not only anxious to amuse 
themselves but to do something for my entertainment also. A 
chatter in a corner settled what it should be. Two or three 
brought sticks, while two or three brought coals. A fire was 
quickly kindled in the centre of the court ; and as its flames lit 
up the area, a whirling circle of half-stripped girls danced to the 
monotonous beat of a tom-tom. Presently, the formal ring was 
broken, and each female stepping out singly, danced according to 
her individual fancy. Some were wild, some were soft, some 
were tame, and some were fiery. After so many years I have no 
distinct recollection of the characteristic movements of these 
semi-savages, especially as the claret and champagne rather 
fermented in my brain, and possessed me with the idea that it 



72 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

was my duty to mingle in the bounding throng. I resolved that 
the barbarians should have a taste of Italian quality ! 

Accordingly, I leaped from the hammock where I had swung 
idly during the scene, and, beginning with a balancez and an 
avant-deux^ terminated my terpsichorean exhibition by a regular 
" double shuffle " and sailor's hornpipe. The delirious laughter, 
cracked sides, rollicking fun, and outrageous merriment, with 
which my feats were received, are unimaginable by sober-sided 
people. Tired of my single exhibition, I seized the prettiest of 
the group by her slim, shining waist, and whirled her round and 
round the court in the quickest of waltzes, until, with a kiss, I 
laid her giddy and panting on the floor. Then, grasping an- 
other, — another, — another, — and another, — and treating each to 
the same dizzy swim, I was about waltzing the whole seraglio 
into quiescence, when who should rise before us but the staring 
and yawning Mongo ! 

The apparition sobered me. A quarteroon pet of Ormond, — 
just spinning into fashionable and luscious insensiblility, — fell 
from my arms into those of her master ; and while I apologized 
for the freak, I charged it altogether to the witchcraft of his wit 
and wine. 

" Ha ! " said the Mongo, " St. Vitus is in your Italian heels 
the moment you are within hail of music and dancing ; and, by 
Jove, it seems you can scent a petticoat as readily as a hound 
tracks runaways. But there's no harm in dancing, Don Teo- 
dore ; only hereafter I hope you will enjoy the amusement in a 
less uproarious manner. In Africa we are fond of a siesta after 
dinner ; and I recommend you to get, as soon as possible, under 
the lee of another bottle." 

We retired once more to his mahogany ; and, under the spell 
of my chieftain's claret and sea-yarns, I was soon lapped in deli- 
cious sleep. 



Next day the captain of the Areostatico drew me aside con- 
fidentially, and hinted that Ormond had taken such a decided 
fancy for mc, and insi?iuated so warm a wish for my continuance 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 73 

as his clerk at Bangalang, that he thought it quite a duty, 
though a sad one, to give his advice on the subject. 

" It may be well for your purse, Don Teodore, to stay with 
so powerful a trader ; but beside the improvement of your for- 
tunes, there are doubts whether it will be wholesome for you to 
revisit Havana, at least at present. It may be fcaid, amigo mioj 
that you commenced the warfare on board the schooner ; — and as 
five men were slain in the affray, it will be necessary for me to 
report the fact to the commanclante as soon as I arrive. Now 
it is true, Jnjo mio^ that you saved the vessel, cargo, specie, and 
my cousin ; yet, God knows what may be the result of Havana 
justice. You will have a rigid examination, and I rather think 
you will be imprisoned until the final decision is made. When 
that consummation shall occur is quite uncertain. If you have 
friends, they will be bled as long as possible before you get out ; 
if you have none, no one will take pains to see you released with- 
out recompense. When you see daylight once more, the rest of 
these ragamuffins and the felon friends of the dead men, will be- 
gin to dog your steps, and make Havana uncomfortable as well 
as dangerous ; so that I have no hesitation in recommending you 
to stay where you are, and take tlie doubloons of the Mongo." 

I thought I saw at a glance the drift of this hypocritical /«yi- 
faronade^ and was satisfied he only desired to get rid of me in 
order to reinstate the chief mate in a situation which he surely 
could not occupy as long as I was on board. As I meant to stay 
in Africa, I told him at once that I grieved because he had not 
spoken his wishes openly, boldly, and honestly, like a man, but 
liad masked an ungrateful cowardice by hypocritical solicitude 
for my welfare. I departed abruptly with a scowl of contempt ; 
and as he hastened to hide his blanched face in the cabin, t 
called a boat, and throwing my sea chest, bedding, and arms, 
aboard, committed my fate to the African continent. A half- 
hour turned and decided my fate I 

Mr. Ormond received me very cordially, and, installing me 
in my new secretaryship, promised a private establishment, a 
seat at his table, and a negro per month, — or its value at the 
rate of forty dollars, — for my servicea 
4 



74 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

When the runners returned from the interior with the slaves 
required to complete the Areostatico's cargo, I considered it my 
duty to the Italian grocer of Regla to dispatch his vessel person- 
ally. Accordingly, I returned on board to aid in stowing one 
hundred and eight boys and girls, the eldest of whom did not 
exceed fifteen years ! As I crawled between decks, I confess I 
could not imagine how this little army was to be packed or draw 
breath in a hold but twenty two inches high ! Yet the experi- 
ment was promptly made, inasmuch as it was necessary to secure 
them below in descending the river, in order to prevent their 
leaping overboard and swimming ashore. I found it impossible 
to adjust the whole in a sitting posture ; but we made them lie 
down in each other's laps, like sardines in a can, and in this way 
obtained space for the entire cargo. Strange to tell, when the 
Areostatico reached Havana, but three of these " passengers " 
had paid the debt of nature. 

As I left the schooner a few miles outside the bar, I crossed 
her side without an adieu save for the English cabin boy, whose 
fate I was pained to intrust to these stupid Spaniards. Indeed, 
the youth almost belonged to me, for I may say he owed his life 
to my interference. 

Previous to the voyage, while waiting in the harbor of Ha- 
vana for a crew, our vessel was anchored near the wharves, next 
to an English merchantman. One afternoon I heard a scream 
from the neighboring craft, and perceived a boy rush from 
the cabin with his face dyed in blood. He was instantly pursued 
by a burly seaman, inflicting blows with his fist. I implored the 
brute to desist, but my interference seemed to augment his cho- 
ler to such a degree, that he seized a handspike to knock the 
stripling down. Upon this I called the child to leap overboard, 
at the same time commanding a hand to lower my boat and scull 
in the direction of his fall. The boy obeyed my voice ; and in a 
few minutes I had him on board blessing me for his safety. But 
the drunken Briton vented his rage in the most indecent lan- 
guage ; and had his boat been aboard, I doubt not a summary 
visit would have terminated in a fight on my deck. 

However, as good luck would have it, his skifi" was at the 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 75 

landing, so that there was ample time, before he could reach the 
Areostatico, to tie up the bruised face and broken rib of the 
child, and to conceal him in the house of a Spanish crone in 
Havana, who cured the maladies of credulous seamen by 
witchcraft ! 

After nightfall the master of the British vessel came aboard 
to claim his boy ; but as he was petulant and seemed disposed to 
carry matters with a high hand, my temper rose in resistance, 
and I refused to release the child until he sealed with an oath 
his promise to treat him better in future. But the cruel scoun- 
drel insisted on unconditional surrender ; and to end the contro- 
versy, I was compelled to order him off the schooner. 

British pluck of course would not allow a captain to be de- 
prived so easily of his property, so the British consul was in- 
voked to appeal to the captain of the port. This personage sum- 
moned me before him, and listened calmly to a story which 
added no honor to English mariners. In my last interview with 
the boy he implored my continued protection and concealment ; 
so that when the Spanish official declared — notwithstanding the 
officer's conduct — that the vessel was entitled to her crew, and 
that I must surrender the child, I excused myself from comply- 
ing by pleading utter ignorance of his whereabout. In view of 
this contingency, I directed the woman to hide him in a place of 
which I should be ignorant. So I told no lie, and saved the boy 
from his tyrant. 

The inquiry was dropped at this stage of proceedings. "When 
the British vessel sailed a few days after, I caused the youth 
to be brought from his concealment ; and, with our captain's 
consent, brought him aboard to serve in our cabin. 

I have narrated this little episode in consequence of my love 
for the boy, and because lie was the only English subject I ever 
knew to ship in a slaver. 

I requested the Areostatic's owners to pay him liberally for 
his fidelity when he got back to Havana ; and I was happy to 
learn next year, that they not only complied with my request, 
but sent him home to his friends in Liverpool. 



76 CAPTAIN canot: or. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

When I got back to Bangalang, my first movement was to take 
possession of the quarters assigned me by the Mongo, and to 
make myself as comfortable as possible in a land whose chief re- 
quirements are shade and shelter. My house, built of cane plas- 
tered with mud, consisted of two earthen-floored rooms and a 
broad verandah. The thatched roof was rather leaky, while my 
furniture comprised two arm-chests covered with mats, a deal 
table, a bamboo settle, a tin-pan with palm-oil for a lamp, and a 
German looking-glass mounted in a paper frame. I augmented 
these comforts by the addition of a trunk, mattress, hammock 
and pair of blankets ; yet, after all this embellishment, I confess 
my household was rather a sorry aiFair. 

It is time I should make the reader acquainted with the in- 
dividual who was the presiding genius of the scene, and, in some 
degree, a type of his peculiar class in Africa. 

Mr. Ormond was the son of an opulent slave-trader from 
Liverpool, and owed his birth to the daughter of a native chief 
on the Rio Pongo. His father seems to have been rather proud 
of his mulatto stripling, and dispatched him to England to be 
educated. But Master John had made little progress in belles- 
lettres, when news of the trader's death was brought to the 
British agent, who refused the youth further supplies of money. 
The poor boy soon became an outcast in a land which had not 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 77 

yet become fashionably addicted to philanthropy ; and, after 
drifting about awhile in England, he shipped on board a mer- 
chantman. The press-gang soon got possession of the likely 
mulatto for the service of his Britannic Majesty. Sometimes he 
played the part of dandy waiter in the cabin ; sometimes he 
swung a hammock with the hands in the forecastle. Thus, five 
years slipped by, during which the wanderer visited most of the 
West Indian and Mediterranean stations. 

At length the prolonged cruise was terminated, and Ormond 
paid off". He immediately determined to employ his hoarded 
cash in a voyage to Africa, where he might claim his father's 
property. The project was executed ; his mother was still found 
alive ; and, fortunately for the manly youth, she recognized him 
at once as her first born. 

The reader will recollect that these things occurred on the 
west coast of Africa in the early part of the present century, 
and that the tenure of property, and the interests of foreign 
traders, were controlled entirely by such customary laws as pre- 
vailed on the spot. Accordingly, a " grand palaver " was ap- 
pointed, and all Mr. Ormond's brothers, sisters, uncles, and 
cousins, — many of whom w^ere in possession of his father's slaves 
or their descendants, — were summoned to attend. The " talk " 
took place at the appointed time. The African mother stood 
forth stanchly to assert the identity and rights of her first-born, 
and, in the end, all of the Liverpool trader's property, in houses, 
lands, and negroes, that could be ascertained, was handed over, 
according to coast-law, to the returned heir. 

When the mulatto youth was thus suddenly elevated into 
comfort, if not opulence, in his own country, he resolved to aug- 
ment his wealth by pursuing his father's business. But the 
whole country was then desolated by a civil war, occasioned, as 
most of them are, by family disputes, which it was necessary to 
terminate before trade could be comfortably established. 

To this task Ormond steadfastly devoted his first year. His 
efforts were seconded by the opportune death of one of the war- 
ring chiefs. A tame opponent, — a brother of Ormond's mother, 
— was quickly brought to terms by a trifling present ; so that the 



78 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

sailor boy soon concentrated the family influence, and declared 
himself " Mongo," or, Chief of the River. 

Bangalang had long been a noted factory among the English 
traders. When war was over, Ormond selected this post as his 
permanent residence, while he sent runners to Sierra Leone and 
Goree with notice that he would shortly be prepared with ample 
cargoes. Trade, which had been so long interrupted by hostili- 
ties, poured from the interior. Vessels from Goree and Sierra 
Leone were seen in the offing, responding to his invitation. His 
stores were packed with British, French, and American fabrics ; 
while hides, wax, palm-oil, ivory, gold, and slaves, were the na- 
tive products for which Spaniards and Portuguese hurried to 
proffer their doubloons and bills. 

It will be readily conjectured that a very few years sufficed 
to make Jack Ormond not only a wealthy merchant, but a popu- 
lar Mongo among the great interior tribes of Foulahs and Man- 
dingoes. The petty chiefs, whose territory bordered the sea, 
flattered him with the title of king ; and, knowing his Mormon 
taste^ stocked his harem with their choicest children as the most 
valuable tokens of friendship and fidelity. 

When I was summoned to act as secretary or clerk of such a 
personage, I saw immediately that it would be well not only to 
understand my duties promptly, but to possess a clear estimate 
of the property I wss to administer and account for. Ormond's 
easy habits satisfied me that he was not a man of business ori- 
ginally, or had become sadly negligent under the debasing in- 
fluence of wealth and voluptuousness. My earliest task, there- 
fore, was to make out a minute inventory of his possessions, 
while I kept a watchful eye on his stores, never allowing any 
one to enter them unattended. When I presented this document, 
which exhibited a large deficiency, the Mongo received it with 
indifierence, begging me not to " annoy him with accounts." 
His manner indicated so much petulant fretfulness, that I au- 
gured from it the conscious decline or disorder of his afi"airs. 

As I was returning to the warehouse from this mortifying 
interview, I encountered an ancient hag, — a sort of superintend- 
ent Cerberus or manager of the Mongo's liarem^ — who, by signs, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 79 

intimated that she wanted the key to the " cloth-chest," whence 
she immediately helped herself to several fathoms of calico. 
The crone could not speak English, and, as I did not understand 
the Soosoo dialect, we attempted no oral argument about the 
propriety of her conduct ; but, taking a pencil and paper, and 
making signs that she should go to the Mongo, who would write 
an order for the raiment, I led her quietly to the door. The 
wrath of the virago was instantly kindled, while her horrid face 
gleamed with that devilish ferocity, which, in some degree is lost 
by Africans who dwell on our continent. During the reign of 
my predecessors, it seems that she had been allowed to control 
the store keys, and to help herself unstintedly. I knew not, of 
course, what she said on this occasion ; but the violence of her 
gestures, the nervous spasms of her limbs, the flashing of her 
eyes, the scream of her voluble tongue, gave token that she 
swelled with a rage which was augmented by my imperturbable 
quietness. At dinner, I apprised Mr. Ormond of the negro's 
conduct ; but he received the announcement with the same laugh 
of indifference that greeted the account of his deficient in- 
ventory. 

That night I had just stretched myself on my hard pallet, 
and was revolving the difficulties of my position with some de- 
gree of pain at my forced continuance in Africa, when my ser- 
vant tapped softly at the door, and announced that some one 
demanded admittance, but begged that I would first of all ex- 
tinguish the light. I was in a country requiring caution ; so I 
felt my pistols before I undid the latch. It was a bright, star- 
light night ; and, as I opened the door sufficiently to obtain a 
glance beyond, — still maintaining my control of the aperture, — 
I perceived the figure of a female, wrapped in cotton cloth from 
head to foot, except the face, which I recollected as that of the 
beautiful quarteroon I was whirling in the waltz, when sur- 
prised by the Mongo. She put forth her hands from the folds 
of her garment, and laying one softly on my arm, while she 
touclied her lips with the other, looked wistfully behind, and 
glided into my apartment. 

This poor girl, the child of a mulatto mother and a white 



80 

parent, was born in the settlement of Sierra Leone, and had 
acquired our language with much more fluency than is common 
among her race. It was said that her father had been originally 
a missionary from Great Britain, but abandoned his profession 
for the more lucrative traffic in slaves, to which he owed an 
abundant fortune. It is probable that the early ecclesiastical 
turn of her delinquent progenitor induced him, before he de- 
parted for America, to bestow on his child the biblical name of 
Esther. 

I led my trembling visitor to the arm-chest, and, seating her 
gently by my side, inquired why I was favored by so stealthy a 
visit from the harem. My suspicions were aroused ; for, though 
a novice in Africa, I knew enough of the discipline maintained in 
these slave factories, not to allow my fancy to seduce me with the 
idea that her visit was owing to mad-cap sentimentality. 

The manner of these quarteroon girls, whose complexion 
hardly separates them from our own race, is most winningly grace- 
ful ; and Esther, with abated breath, timidly asked my pardon for 
intruding, while she declared I had made so bitter an enemy of 
Ilnga-golah, — the head-woman of the seraglio. — that, in spite of 
danger, she stole to my quarters with a warning. Unga swore 
revenge. I had insulted and thwarted her ; I was able to thwart 
her at all times, if I remained the Mongols " book-man ; " — I 
must soon " go to another country ; " but, if I did not, I would 
quickly find the food of Bangalang excessively unwholesome ! 
" Never eat any thing that a Mandingo offers you," said Esther. 
*' Take your meals exlusively from the Mongo's table. Unga- 
golah knows all the Mandingo jii-jus^ and she will have no 
scruple in using them in order to secure once more the control 
of the store keys. Good night ! " 

"With this she rose to depart, begging me to be silent about 
her visit, and to believe that a poor slave could feel true kindness 
for a white man, or even expose herself to save him. 

If an unruly passion had tugged at my heartstrings, the soft 
appeal, the liquid tones, the tenderness of this girl's humanity, 
would have extinguished it in an instant. It was the first time 
for many a long and desolate month that I had experienced the 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 81 

gentle touch of a woman's hand, or felt the interest of mortal 
solicitude fall like a refreshing dew upon my heart ! Who will 
censure me for halting on my door-sill as I led her forth, retain- 
ing her little hand in mine, while I cast my eyes over the lithe 
symmetry of those slender and rounded limbs ; while I feasted 
on the flushed magnolia of those beautiful cheeks, twined my 
fingers in the trailing braids of that raven hair, peered into the 
blackness of those large and swimming orbs, felt a tear trickle 
down my hardening face, and left, on those coral lips, the print 
of a kiss that was fuller of gratitude than passion ! 

Nowadays that Mormonisra is grafting a '' celestial wifcry" 
upon the civilization of the nineteenth century, I do not think it 
amiss to recall the memory of those African establishments which 
formed so large a portion of a trader's homestead. It is not to 
be supposed that the luxurious harem of Turkey or Egypt was 
transferred to the Guinea coast, or that its lofty walls were bar- 
ricaded by stout gates, guarded by troops of sable eunuchs. The 
" wifery " of my employer was a bare inclosure, formed by a 
quadrangular cluster of mud-houses, the entrance to whose court- 
yard was never watched save at night. Uuga-golah, the eldest 
and least delectable of the dames, maintained the establishment's 
police, assigned gifts or servants to each female, and distributed 
her master's favors according to the bribes she was cajoled by. 

In early life and during his gorged prosperity, Ormond, — a 
stout, burly, black-eyed, broad-shouldered, short-necked man, — 
ruled his harem with the rigid decorum of the East. But as 
age and misfortunes stole over the sensual voluptuary, his mental 
and bodily vigor became impaired, not only by excessive drink, 
but by the narcotics to which he habitually resorted for excite- 
ment. When I became acquainted with him, his face and figure 
bore the marks of a worn-out debauclie. His harem now was 
a fashion of the country rather than a domestic resort. His wives 
ridiculed him, or amused themselves as they pleased. I learned 
from Esther that there was hardly one who did not " flirt " with 
a lover in Bangalang, and that Unga-golah was blinded by gifts, 
while the stupor of the Mongo was perpetuated by liquor. 
4* 



82 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

It may be supposed that in such a seraglio, and with such a 
master, there were but few matrimonial jealousies ; still, as it 
would be difficult to find, even in our most Christian society, two 
females without some lurking bitterness towards rivals, so it is 
not to be imagined that the Mongo's mansion was free from 
w^omanly quarrels. These disputes chiefly occurred when Or- 
mond distributed gifts of calico, beads, tobacco, pipes and look- 
ing-glasses. If the slightest preference or inequality was shown, 
adieu to order. Unga-golah descended below zero ! The favor- 
ite wife, outraged by her neglected authority, became furious ; 
and, for a season, pandemonium was let loose in Bangalang. 

One of these scenes of passion occurs to me as I write. I 
was in the store with the Mongo when an aggrieved dame, not 
remarkable either for delicacy of complexion or sweetness of 
odor, entered the room, and marching up with a swagger to her 
master, dashed a German looking-glass on the floor at his feet. 
She wanted a larger one, for the glass bestowed on her was half 
an inch smaller than the gifts to her companions. 

When Ormond was sober, his pride commonly restrained him 
from allowing the women to molest his leisure ; so he quietly 
turned from the virago and ordered her out of the store. 

But my lady was not to be appeased by dignity like* this. 
" Ha ! " shrieked the termagant, as she wrenched ofi" her hand- 
kerchief. *' Ha ! " yelled she, tearing off" one sleeve, and then 
the other. " Ha ! " screamed the fiend, kicking a shoe into one 
corner, and the other shoe into another corner. " Ha ! Mongo!" 
roared the beldame, as she stripped every garment from her 
body and stood absolutely naked before us, slapping her wool, 
cheeks, forehead, breasts, arms, stomach and limbs, and appeal- 
ing to Ormond to say where she was deficient in charms, that 
she should be slighted half an inch on a looking-glass ? 

As the Mongo was silent, she strode up to me for an opinion ; 
but, scarlet with blushes, I dived behind the cloth-chest, and 
left the laughing Ormond to gratify the whim of the " model 
artiste y 

Years afterwards, I remember seeing an infuriate Ethiopian 
fling her infant into the fire because its white father preferred the 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 83 

child of another spouse. Indeed, I was glad my station at Bang- 
alang did not make it needful for the preservation of my respect- 
ability that I should indulge in the luxury of African matri- 
inony ! 

But these exhibitions of jealous passion were not excited 
alone by the unequal distribution of presents from the liege lord 
of Bangalang. I have observed that Ormond's wives took 
advantage of his carelessness and age, to seek congenial compan- 
ionship outside the harem. Sometimes the preference of two of 
these sable be//es alighted on the same lover, and then the battle 
was transferred from a worthless looking glass to the darling 
beazi. When such a quarrel arose, a meeting between the rivals 
was arranged out of the Mongo's hearing ; when, throwing off 
their waist-cloths, the controversy was settled between the 
female gladiators without much damage. But, now and then, 
the matter was not left to the ladies. The sable lovers them- 
selves took up the conflict, and a regular challenge passed between 
the gay Othellos. 

At the appointed time, the duellists appeared upon " the 
field of honor " accompanied by friends who were to witness their 
victory or sympathize in their defeat. Each stalwart savage 
leaped into the arena, armed with a cow-hide cat, whose sharp 
and triple thongs were capable of inflicting the harshest blows. 
They stripped, and tossed three cowries into the air to determine 
which of the two should receive the first lashing. The unfortu- 
nate loser immediately took his stand, and received, with the 
firmness of a martyr, the allotted number of blows. Then came 
the turn of the whipper, who, with equal constancy, offered his 
back to the scourge of the enraged sufferer. Thus they alter- 
nated until one gave in, or until the bystanders decreed victory 
to him who bore the punishment longest without wincing. The 
flayed backs of these " chivalrous men of Ijonor " were ever after 
displayed in token of bravery ; and, doubtless, their Dulcineas 
devoted to their healing the subtlest ointment and tenderest 
affection recognized among Africans. 



84 



CAPTAIN CANOT; OR, 



CHAPTER IX. 

My business habits and sj-stematic devotion to the Mongo's in- 
terests soon made me fiimiliar with the broad features of '• coun- 
try trade ; " but as I was still unable to speak the coast dialects, 
Mr. Ormond — who rarely entered the warehouse or conversed 
about commerce — supplied an adroit interpreter, who stood 
beside me and assisted in the retail of foreign merchandise, for 
rice, ivory, palm-oil, and domestic provisions. The purchase of 
slaves and gold was conducted exclusively by the Mongo, who 
did not consider me sufficiently initiated in native character and 
tricks to receive so delicate a trust. 

Lono' and dreary were the days and nights of the apparently 
interminable "wet season." Kain in a city, rain in the coun- 
try, rain in a village, rain at sea, are sufficiently wearying, even 
to those whose mental activity is amused or occupied by books or 
the concerns of life ; but who can comprehend the insufferable 
lassitude and despondency that overwhelm an African resident, 
as he lies on his mat-covered armchest, and listens to the endless 
deluge pouring for da^s, weeks, months, upon bis leaky thatch ? 

At last, however, the season of rain passed by, and the " dry 
season " set in. This was the epoch for the arrival of caravans 
from the interior ; so that we were not surprised when our run- 
ners appeared, with news that Ahmah-de-Bellah, son of a noted 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 85 

Fullali chief, was about to visit the Rio Pongo with an imposing 
train of followers and merchandise. The only means of commu- 
nication with the interior of Africa are, for short distances, by 
rivers, and, for longer ones, by " paths " or " trails " leading 
through the dense forest and among the hills, to innumerable 
" towns " that stud this prolific land. Stephenson and McAdam 
have not been to Africa, and there are neither turnpikes nor 
railways. Now, when the coast-traders of the west are apprised 
that caravans are threading their way towards the Atlantic shores, 
it is always thought advisable to make suitable preparations for 
the chiefs, and especially to greet them by messages, before their 
arrival at the beach. Accordingly, ^^ barkers " are sent forth on the 
forest " paths " to welcome the visitors with gifts of tobacco and 
powder. " Barkers " are colored gentlemen, with fluent tongues 
and flexible consciences, always in the train of factories on the 
coast, who hasten to the wilderness at the first signal of a cara- 
van's approach, and magnify the prosperity and merchandise of 
their patrons with as much zeal and veracity as the " drummers" 
of more Christian lands. 

A few days after our band of travelling agents had departed 
on their mission, the crack of firearms was heard from the hills 
in our rear, signifying that the Mongols " barkers " had been 
successful with the caravan in tow. A prompt response to the 
joyous signal was made by our cannons ; so that, after half an 
hour's firing, Ahmah-de-Bellah and his party emerged from the 
smoke, marshalled by our band of singers, who preceded him, 
chanting with loud voices the praise of the youthful chieftain. 
Behind the master came the principal traders and their slaves 
laden with produce, and followed by forty captive negroes, 
secured by bamboo withes. Those were succeeded by three- 
score bullocks, a large flock of sheep or goats, and the females 
of the party ; while the procession was closed by the demure 
tread of a tame and stately Ostrich ! 

It was the first time I had seen so odd an assemblage of 
beasts and humanity. Indeed, had the troupe been accompanied 
by a bevy of ourang-outangs, I confess I might, at times, have 
had difiiculty in deciding the grade of animal life to which the 
object in front of me belonged. 



86 

Mr. Ormoiid, when put upon his mettle, was one of the 
ablest traders in Africa, and received the Mahometan strangers 
with becoming state. He awaited Ahmah-de-Bellah and his com- 
mittee of head-traders on the piazza of his receiving-house, which 
was a rather stately edifice, one hundred and fifty feet in length, 
built to be fire-proof for the protection of our stores. When 
each Fullah stranger was presented, he shook hands and 
'' snapped fingers " with the Mongo several times ; and, as every 
petty peddler in the train wanted to salaam the " white man for 
good luc-k,-' the process of presentation occupied at least an hour. 

According to coast-custom, as soon as these compliments were 
over, the caravan's merchandise was deposited within our walls, 
not only for security, but in order that we might gauge the value 
of the u'clcome the owners were entitled to receive. This pre- 
caution, though ungallant, is extremely necessary, inasmuch as 
many of the interior dealers were in the habit of declaring, on 
arrival, the value of their gold and ivory to be much greater than 
it was in fact, in order to receive a more liberal " present." 
Even savages instinctively acquire the tricks of trade ! 

When the goods were stored, a couple of fat bullocks, with 
an abundant supply of rice, were given to the visitors, and the 
chiefs of the caravan were billeted upon our townspeople. The 
canaille built temporary huts for themselves in the outskirts ; 
while Ahmah-de-Bellah, a strict Mahometan, accompanied by two 
of his wives, was furnished with a pair of neat houses that had 
been hastily fitted up with new and elegant mats.* 

While the merchandise of these large caravans is unpaid for, 
their owners, by the custom of the country, remain a costly bur- 
den upon the factories. We were naturally anxious to be free 
from this expense as soon as possible, and gave notice next morn- 
ing that " trade would begin forthwith." Ahmah-de-Bellah, the 
chiefs of the caravans, and Mr. Ormond, at once entered into 
negotiations, so that by nightfall a bargain had been struck, not 

* As it may be interesting to learn the nature of trade on this coast, — 
which is commonly misunderstood as consisting in slaves alone, — I thought it 
well to set down the inventory T made out of the caravan's stock and its 
result, as the various items were intrusted to ray guardianship. The body 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 87 

only for their presents, but for the price of merchandise, and the 
percentage to be retained as " native duty." Such a preliminary 
liquidation with the heads of a caravan is ever indispensable, for, 
without their assistance, it would be out of the question to traf- 
fic with the ragamuffins who hang on the skirts of opulent chief- 
tains. 

of the caravan itself consisted of seven hundred persons, principally men; 
while the produce was as follows : 

3,500 hides $1,750 

19 laige aud prime teeth of ivory, . . . 1,560 

Gold, . 2,500 

600 pounds small ivory, 320 

15 tons of rice, 600 

40 slaves, 1,600 

36 bullocks, 360 

Sheep, goats, butter, vegetables, . . 100 

900 pounds bees-wax, ..... 95 

Total value of the caravan's merchandise, . . $8,885. 

Oiu- profits on this speculation were very flattering, both as regards 
sales and acquisitions. Rice cost us one cent per pound ; hides were de- 
livered at eighteen or twenty cents each; a bullock was sold for twenty 
or thirty pounds of tobacco; sheep, goats or hogs, cost two pounds of to- 
bacco, or a fathom of common cotton, each; ivory was purchased at the 
rate of a dollar the pound for the best, while inferior kinds were given at 
half that price. In fact, the profit on our merchandise was, at least, one 
hundred and fifty per cent. As gold commands the very best fabrics iu 
exchange, and was paid for at the rate of sixteen dollars an ounce, we 
made but seventy per cent, on the article. The slaves were delivered at 
the rate of one hundred " bars" each. The " bar'^ is valued on the coast 
at half a dollar; but a pound and a half of tobacco is also a "bar," as 
well as a fathom of ordinary cotton cloth, or a pound of powder, while a 
common musket is equal to twelve " bars." Accordingly, where slaves 
were purchased for one hundred and fifty pounds of tobacco, only eighteen 
dollars were, in reality, paid; and when one hundred pounds of powder 
were given, we got them for twenty dollars each. Our British muskets 
cost us but three dollars a-piece ; yet we seldom purchased negroes for 
this article alone. If the women, offered in the market, exceeded twenty- 
five years of age, we made a deduction of twenty per cent. ; but if they 
were stanehly-built, and gave promising tokens for the future, we took 
them at the price of an able-bodied man. The same estimate was made 
for youths over four feet four inches high ; but children were rarely pur- 
chased at the factories, though they might be advantageously traded in 
the native towns. 



88 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

Each morning, at daylight, a crier went through the town, 
announcing the character of the specific trade which would be 
carried on during hours of business. One day it was in hides ; 
another, rice ; another, cattle. When these were disposed of, a 
time was specially appointed for the exchange of gold, ivory and 
slaves ; and, at the agreed hour, Mr. Ormond, Ahmah-de bellah, 
and myself, locked the doors of the warehouse, and traded 
through a window, while our " barkers " distributed the goods 
to the Africans, often using their whips to keep the chattering 
and disputatious scamps in order. Ahmah-de-bellah pretended 
to inspect the measurement of cloth, powder and tobacco, to in- 
sure justice to his compatriots; but, in reality, like a true tax- 
gatherer, he was busy ascertaining his lawful percentage on the 
sale, in return for the protection from robbery he gave the petty 
traders on their pilgrimage to the coast. 

At length the market was cleared of sellers and merchandise 
— except the ostrich, which, when all was over, reached the Mon- 
gols hands as a royal gift from the Ali-mami of Footha Yallon, 
the pious father of Ahmah-de-Bellah. The bird, it is true, was 
presented as a free ofiering ; yet it was hinted that the worthy 
Ali stood in need of reliable muskets, which his son would take 
charge of on the journey home. As twenty of those warlike in- 
struments were dispatched by Ahmah-de-Bellah, the ostrich be- 
came rather a costly as well as characteristic gift. Each of the 
traders, moreover, expected a " bungee " or " dash " of some 
sort, in token of good will, and in proportion to his sales ; so that 
we hastened to comply with all the common-law customs of the 
country, in order to liberate Bangalang from the annoying 
crowd. They dropped off rapidly as they were paid ; and in a 
short time Ahmah-de-Bellah, his wives, and immediate followers, 
were all that remained of the seven hundred Fullahs. 

Ahmah-de-Bellah was a fine specimen of what may be con- 
sidered "Young Africa," though he can hardly be classed among 
the progressives or revolutionary propaga'ndists of the age. In 
person he was tall, graceful, and commanding. As the son of 
an important chief, he had been free from those menial toils 
which, in that climate, soon obliterate all intellectual character- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 89 

istics. His face was well formed for an African's. His high 
and broad brow arched over a straight nose, while his lips had 
nothing of that vulgar grossness which gives so sensual an expres- 
sion to his countrymen. Ahmah's manners to strangers or supe- 
riors were refined and courteous in a remarkable degree ; but to 
the mob of the coast and inferiors generally, he manifested that 
harsh and peremptory tone which is common among the savages 
of a fiery clime. 

Ahmah-de-Bellah was second son of the Ali-mami, or King 
of Footha-Yallon, who allowed him to exercise the prerogative 
of leading for the first time, a caravan to the seaboard, in honor 
of attaining the discreet age of " twenty four rainy seasons." 
The privilege however, was not granted without a view to profit 
by the courage of his own blood ; for the Ali-mami was never 
known to suffer a son or relative to depart from his jurisdiction 
without a promise of half the products of the lucrative enter- 
prise. 

The formation of a caravan, when the king's permission has 
been finally secured, is a work of time and skill. At the begin- 
ning of the " dry season," the privileged chieftain departs with 
power of life and death over his followers, and " squats " in one 
of the most frequented " paths " to the sea, while he dispatches 
small bands of daring retainers to other trails throughout the 
neighborhood, to blockade every passage to the beach. The siege 
of the highways is kept up with vigor for a month or more, by 
these black Rob Roys and Robin Hoods, until a sufiicient number 
of traders may be trapped to constitute a valuable caravan, and give 
importance to its leader. While this is the main purpose of the 
forest-adventure, the occasion is taken advantage of to collect a 
local tribute, due by small tribes to the Ali, which could not be 
obtained otherwise. The despotic officer, moreover, avails him- 
self of the blockade to stop malefactors and absconding debtors. 
Goods that are seized in the possession of the latter may be se- 
questrated to pay his creditors ; but if their value is not equal 
to the debt, the delinquent, if a pagan, is sold as a slave, but is 
let off with a bastinado^ if he proves to be '* one of the faith- 
ful." 



90 CAPTAIN CANOT ', OR, 

It is natural to suppose that every effort is made by the 
small traders of the interior to avoid these savage press-gangs. 
The poor wretches are not only subjected to annoying vassalage 
by ruffian princes, but the blockade of the forest often diverts 
them from the point they originally designed to reach, — forces 
them to towns or factories they had no intention of visiting, — 
and, by extreme delay, wastes their provisions and diminishes 
their frugal profits. It is surprising to see how admirably even 
savages understand and exercise the powers of sovereignty and 
the rights of transit ! 

While Ahmah-de-Bellah tarried at Bangalang, it was my habit 
to visit him every night to hear his interesting chat, as it was 
translated by an interpreter. Sometimes, in return, I would 
recount the adventures of my sea-faring life, which seemed to 
have a peculiar flavor for this child of the wilderness, who now 
gazed for the first time on the ocean. Among other things, I 
strove to convince him of the world's rotundity ; but, to the last, 
he smiled incredulously at my daring assertion, and closed the 
argument by asking me to prove it from the Koran ? He al- 
lowed me the honors due a traveller and '' book-man ; " but a 
mind that had swallowed, digested, and remembered every text 
of Mahomet's volume, was not to be deceived by such idle fanta- 
sies. He kindly undertook to conquer ray ignorance of his creed 
by a careful exposition of its mysteries in several long-winded 
lectures, and I was so patient a listener, that I believe Ahmah 
was entirely satisfied of my conversion. 

My seeming acquiescence was well repaid by the FuUah's 
confidence. He returned my nightly calls with interest ; and, 
visiting me in the warehouse during hours of business, became 
so fervently wrapped up in my spiritual salvation, that he would 
spout Mahometanism for hours through an interpreter. To 
get rid of him, one day, I promised to follow the Prophet 
with pleasure if he consented to receive mc ; but I insisted on 
entering the " fold of the faithful " witliout submitting to the 
peculiar rite of Mussulman baptism ! 

Ahmah-de-Bellah took the jest kindly, laughing like a good 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 91 

fellow, and from that day forward, we were sworn cronies. The 
Fullah at once wrote down a favorite prayer in Arabic, requiring 
as my spiritual guide, that I should commit it to memory for 
constant and ready use. After a day or two, he examined me 
in the ritual ; but, finding I was at fault after the first sentence, 
reproached me pathetically upon my negligence and exhorted 
me to repentance, — much to the edification of our interpreter, 
who was neither Jew, Christian, nor Mussulman. 

But the visit of the young chieftain, which began in trade 
and tapered off in piety, drew to a close. Ahmah-de-Bellah 
began to prepare for his journey homeward. As the day of de- 
parture approached, I saw that my joke had been taken seriously 
by the Fullah, and that he relied upon my apostasy. At the 
last moment, Ahmah tried to put me to a severe test, by 
suddenly pro'ducing the holy book, and requiring me to seal our 
friendsliip by an oath that I would never abandon Islamism. I 
contrived, however, adroitly to evade the affirmation by feigning 
an excessive anxiety to acquire more profound knowledge of the 
Koran, before I made so solemn a pledge. 

It came to pass that, out of the forty slaves brought in the 
caravan, the Mougo rejected eight. After some altercation, 
Ahmah-de-Bellah consented to discard seven ; but he insisted 
that the remaining veteran should be shipped, as he could neither 
kill nor send him back to Footha Yallon. 

I was somewhat curious to know the crime this culprit had 
committed, v/hich was so heinous as to demand his perpetual 
exile, though it spared his life. The chief informed me that the 
wretch had slain his son ; and, as there was no punishment for 
such an offence assigned by the Koran, the judges of his coun- 
try condemned him to be sold a slave to Christians^ — a penalty 
they considered worse than death. 

Another curious feature of African law was developed in the 
sale of this caravan. I noticed a couple of women drawn along 
with ropes around their necks, while others of their sex and class 
were suffered to wander about without bonds. These females, 
the chief apprised us, would have been burnt in his father's do- 



92 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

mains for witchcraft, had not his venerable ancestor been so 
much distressed for powder that he tliought their lives would be 
more valuable to his treasury than their carcasses to outraged 
law. 

It was a general complaint among the companions of Ahmah- 
de-Bellah that the caravan was scant of slaves in consequence of 
this unfortunate lack of powder. The young chieftain promised 
better things in future. Next year, the Mongo's barracoons 
should teem with his conquests. When the " rainy season " 
approached, the Ali-mami, his father, meant to carry on a 
" great war " against a variety of small tribes, whose captives 
would replenish the herds, that, two years before, had been car- 
ried ofif by a sudden blight 

I learned from my intelligent Fullah, that while the Mahom- 
etan courts of his country rescued by law the people of their 
own faith from slavery, they omitted no occasion to inflict it, as 
a penalty, upon the African " unbelievers " who fell within their 
jurisdiction. Among these unfortunates, the smallest crime is 
considered capital, and a " capital crime " merits the profitable 
punishment of slavery. Nor was it difficult, he told me, for a 
country of " true believers " to acquire a multitude of bondsmen. 
They detested the institution, it is true, among themselves, and 
among their own caste, but it was both right and reputable 
among the unorthodox. The Koran commanded the " subjuga- 
tion of the tribes to the true faith," so that, to enforce the Pro- 
phet's order against infidels, they resorted to the white man's 
cupidity, which authorized its votaries to enslave the negro ! IMy 
inquisitiveness prompted me to demand whether these holy wars 
spoken of in the Koran were not somewhat stimulated, in our 
time, at least, by the profits that ensued ; and I even ventured 
to hint that it was questionable whether the mighty chief of 
Footha-Yallon would willingly storm a Kaffir fortification, were 
he not prompted by the booty of slaves ! 

Ahmah-de-Bellah was silent for a minute, when his solemn 
face gradually relaxed into a quizzical smile, as he replied that, 
in truth, Mahometans were no worse than Christians, so that it 
was quite likely, — if the white elect of heaven, who knew how to 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 93 

make powder and guns, did not tempt the black man with their 
weapons, — the commands of Allah would be followed with less 
zeal, and implements not quite so dangerous ! 

I could not help thinking that there was a good deal of quiet 
satire in the gossip of this negro prince. According to the cus- 
tom of his country, we " exchanged names " at parting ; and, 
while he put in my pocket the gift of a well-thumbed Koran, I 
slung over his shoulder a double-barrelled gun. We walked side 
by side for some miles into the forest, as he went forth from 
Bangalang ; and as we " cracked fingers " for farewell, I prom- 
ised, with my hand on my heart, that the " next dry season " I 
would visit his father, the venerable Ali-mami, in his realm of 
Footha-Yallon. 



94 



CHAPTER X. 

I WAS a close watcher of Mongo John whenever he engaged in 
the purchase of slaves. As each negro was brought before him, 
Ormond examined the subject, without regard to sex, from head 
to foot. A. careful manipulation of the chief muscles, joints, 
arm-pits and groins was made, to assure soundness. The mouth, 
too, was inspected, and if a tooth was missing, it was noted as a 
defect liable to deduction. Eyes, voice, lungs, fingers and toes 
were not forgotten ; so that when the negro passed from the 
Mongo's hands without censure, he might have been readily 
adopted as a good " life " by an insurance company. 

Upon one occasion, to my great astonishment, I saw a stout 
and apparently powerful man discarded by Ormond as utterly 
worthless. His full muscles and sleek skin, to my unpractised 
eye, denoted the height of robust health. Still, I was told that 
he had been medicated for the market with bloating drugs, and 
sweated with powder and lemon juice to impart a gloss to his 
skin. Ormond remarked that these jockey-tricks are as common 
in Africa as among horse-dealers in Christian lands ; and desir- 
ing me to feel the negro's pulse, I immediately detected disease 
or excessive excitement. In a few days I found the poor wretch, 
abandoned by his owner, a paralyzed wreck in the hut of a vil- 
lager at Bangalang. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 95 

When a slave becomes useless to his master in the interior, 
or exhibits signs of failing constitution, he is soon disposed of to 
a peddler or broker. These men call to their aid a quack, familiar 
with drugs, who, for a small compensation, undertakes to refit an 
impaired body for the temptation of green-horns. Sometimes 
the cheat is successfully effected ; but experienced slavers detect 
it readily by the yellow eye, swollen tongue, and feverish skin. 

After a few more lessons, I was considered by the Mongo 
sufficiently learned in the slave traffic to be intrusted with the 
sole management of his stores. This exemption from commerce 
enabled him to indulge more than ever in the use of ardent 
spirits, though his vanity to be called " king," still prompted 
him to attend faithfully to all the " country palavers ; " — and, 
let it be said to his credit, his decisions were never defective in 
judgment or impartiality. 

After I had been three months occupied in the multifarious 
intercourse of Bangalang and its neighborhood, I understood the 
language well enough to dispense with the interpreter, who was 
one of the Mongo's confidential agents. When my companion 
departed on a long journey, he counselled me to make up with 
Unga-golah, the hareiii's cerberus, as she suspected my intimacy 
with Esther, who would doubtless be denounced to Ormond, 
unless I purchased the beldame's silence. 

Indeed, ever since the night of warning, when the beautiful 
quarteroon visited my hovel, I had contrived to meet this charm- 
ing girl, as the only solace of my solitude. Amid all the wild, 
passionate, and savage surroundings of Bangalang, Esther — the 
Pariah — was the only golden link that still seemed to bind me 
to humanity and the lands beyond the seas. On that burning 
coast, I was not excited by the stirring of an adventurous life, 
nor was my young heart seduced and bewildered by absorbing 
avarice. Many a night, when the dews penetrated my flesh, as 
I looked towards the west, my soul shrank from the selfish 
wretches around me, and went off in dreams to the homes I had 
abandoned. When I came back to myself, — when I was forced 
to recognize my doom in Africa, — when 1 acknowledged that my 
lot had been cast, perhaps unwisely, by myself, my spirit turned, 



96 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

like the worm from the crushing heel, and found nothing that 
kindled for me with the light of human sympathy, save this out- 
cast girl. Esther was to me as a sister, and when the hint of 
her harm or loss was given, I hastened to disarm the only hand 
that could inflict a blow\ Unga-golah was a woman, and a rope 
of sparkling coral for her neck, smothered all her wrongs. 

The months I had passed in Africa without illness, — though 
I went abroad after dark, and bathed in the river during the heat 
of the day, — made me believe myself proof against malaria. 
But, at length, a violent pain in my loins, accompanied by a 
swimming head, warned me that the African fever held me in its 
dreaded gripe. In two days I was delirious. Ormond visited 
me ; but I knew him not, and in my madness, called on Esther, 
accompanying the name with terms of endearment. This, I was 
told, stirred the surprise and jealousy of the Mongo, who forth- 
with assailed the matron of his harem with a torrent of inquiries 
and abuse. But Unga-golah was faithful. The beads had sealed 
her tongue ; so that, with the instinctive adroitness peculiar to 
ladies of her color, she fabricated a story which not only quieted 
the Mongo, but added lustre to Esther's character. 

The credulous old man finding Unga so well disposed towards 
his watchful clerk, restored the warehouse to her custody. This 
was the height of her avaricious ambition ; and, in token of 
gratitude for my profitable malady, she contrived to let Esther 
become the nurse and guardian of my sick bed. 

As my fever and delirium continued, a native doctor, re- 
nowned for his skill, was summoned, who ordered me to be 
cupped in the African fashion by scarifying my back and stom- 
ach with a hot knife, and applying plaintain leaves to the wounds. 
The operation allayed my pulse for a few hours ; but as the 
fever came back with new vigor, it became necessary for my 
attendants to arouse the Mongo to a sense of my imminent dan- 
ger. Yet Ormond, instead of springing with alacrity to succor 
a friend and retainer in affliction, sent for a young man, named 
Edward Joseph, who had formerly been in his employment^ but 
was now settled on his own account in Bangalang. 

Joseph proved a good Samaritan. As soon as he dared ven- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 97 

ture upon my removal, he took me to his establishment at Kam- 
bia, and engaged the services of another Mandingo doctor, in 
whose absurdities he believed. But all the charms and incanta- 
tions of the savage would not avail, and I remained in a state of 
utter prostration and apparent insensibility until morning. As 
soon as day dawned, my faithful Esther was again on the field 
of action ; and this time she insisted upon the trial of her judg- 
ment, in the person of an old white-headed woman, who accom- 
panied her in the guise of the greatest enchantress of the coast. 
A slave, paid in advance, was the fee for which she undertook to 
warrant my cure. 

No time was to be lost. The floor of a small and close mud 
hut was intensely heated, and thickly strewn with moistened 
lemon leaves, over which a cloth was spread for a couch. As 
soon as the bed was ready, I was borne to the hovel, and, covered 
with blankets, was allowed to steam and perspire, while my med- 
ical attendant dosed me with half a tumbler of a green disgusting 
juice which she extracted from herbs. This process of drink- 
ing and barbecuing was repeated during five consecutive days, 
at he end of which my fever was gone. But my convalescence 
was not speedy. For many a day, I stalked about, a useless 
skeleton, quivering with ague, and afflicted by an insatiable appe- 
tite, until a French physician restored me to health by the use 
of cold baths at the crisis of my fever. 

When I was sufliciently recovered to attend to business 
Mongo John desired me to resume my position in his employ 
ment. I heard, however, from Esther, that during my illness 
Unga-golah used her opportunities so profitably in the ware 
house, that there would be sad deficiencies, which, doubtless 
might be thrown on me, if the crone were badly disposed at any- 
future period. Accordingly, I thought it decidedly most prudent 
to decline the clerkship, and requested the Mongo to recompense 
me for the time and attention I had already bestowed on him. 
This was refused by the indolent voluptuary ; so we parted with 
coolness, and I was onoe more adrift in the world. 

In these great outlying colonies and lodgments of European 
nations ia the East Indies and Africa, a stranger is commonly 
5 



98 

welcome to the hospitality of every foreigner. I had no hesita- 
tion, therefore, in returning to the house of Joseph, who, like 
myself, had been a clerk of Ormond, and suffered from the pil- 
ferings of the matron. 

My host, I understood, was a native of London, where he 
was born of continental parents, and came to Sierra Leone with 
Governor Turner. Upon the death or return of that officer, — I 
do not recollect which, — the young adventurer remained in the 
colony, and, for a time, enjoyed the post of harbor master. His 
first visit to the Rio Pongo was in the capacity of supercargo of 
a small coasting craft, laden with valuable merchandise. Joseph 
succeeded in disposing of his wares, but was not equally fortu- 
nate in collecting their avails. It was, perhaps, an ill-judged 
act of the supercargo, but he declined tp face his creditors with 
a deficient balance-sheet ; and quitting Sierra Leone for ever, 
accepted service with Ormond. For a year he continued in this 
employment ; but, at the end of that period, considering himself 
sufficiently informed of the trade and language of the river, he 
sent a message to his creditors at the British settlement that he 
could promptly pay them in full, if they would advance him 
capital enough to commence an independent trade. The terms 
were accepted by an opulent Israelite, and in a short time Ed- 
ward Joseph was numbered among the successful factors of Rio 
Pongo. 

As I had nothing to do but get well and talk, I employed my 
entire leisure in acquiring the native language perfectly. The 
Soosoo is a dialect of the Mandingo. Its words, ending almost 
universally in vowels, render it as glibly soft and musical as 
Italian ; so that, in a short time, I spoke it as fluently as my 
native tongue. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 99 



CHAPTEK XI. 

The 15tli of March, 1827, was an epoch in my life. I re- 
member it well, because it became the turning point of my 
destiny. A few weeks more of indolence might have forced me 
back to Europe or America, but the fortune of that day decided 
my residence and dealings in Africa. 

At dawn of the 15th, a vessel was descried in the offing, anu, 
as she approached the coast, the initiated soon ascertained her 
to be a Spanish slaver. But, what was the amazement of the 
river grandees when the captain landed and consigned his vessel 
to me ! 

" La Fortuna," the property, chiefly, of my old friend the 
Regla grocer, was successor of the Areostatico, which she 
exceeded in size as well as comfort. Her captain was charged to 
pay me my wages in full for the round voyage in the craft I had 
abandoned, and handed me, besides, a purse of thirty doubloons 
as a testimonial from his owners for ray defence of their property 
on the dreadful night of our arrival. The " Fortuna " was 
dispatched to me for an " assorted cargo of slaves," while 
200,000 cigars and 500 ounces of Mexican gold, were on board 
for their purchase. My commission was fixed at ten per cent., 
and I was promised a command whenever I saw fit to abandon 
my residence on the African coast. 

Having no factory, or barracoon of slaves, and being elevated 
to the dignity of " a trader " in so sudden a manner, I thought 
it best to summon all the factors of the river on board the 



100 

schooner, with an offer to divide the cargo, provided they would 
pledge the production of the slaves within thirty days. Dispatch 
was all-important to the owners, and, so anxious was I to gratify 
them, that I consented to pay fifty dollars for every slave that 
should be accepted. 

After some discussion my offer was taken, and the cargo appor- 
tioned among the residents. They declined, however, receiving 
any share of the cigars in payment, insisting on liquidation in 
gold alone. 

As this was my first enterprise, I felt at a loss to know how 
to convert my useless tobacco into merchantable doubloons. In 
this strait, I had recourse to the Englishman Joseph, who 
hitherto traded exclusively in produce ; but, being unable to 
withstand the temptation of gold, had consented to furnish a 
portion of my required negroes. As soon as I stated the diffi- 
culty to Don Edward, he proposed to send the Havanas to his 
Hebrew friend in Sierra Leone, where, he did not doubt, they 
would be readily exchanged for Manchester merchandise. That 
evening a canoe was dispatched to the English colony with the 
cigars ; and, on the tenth day after, the trusty Israelite appeared 
in the Rio Pongo, with a cutter laden to the deck with superior 
British fabrics. The rumor of five hundred doubloons disturbed 
his rest in Sierra Leone ! So much gold could not linger in the 
hands of natives as long as Manchester and Birmingham were 
represented in the colony ; and, accordingly, he coasted the edge 
of the surf, as rapidly as possible, to pay me a profit of four 
dollars a thousand for the cigars, and to take his chances at the 
exchange of my gold for the sable cargo ! By this happy hit I 
was enabled to pay for the required balance of negroes, as well 
as to liquidate the schooner's expenses while in the river. I was 
amazingly rejoiced and proud at this happy result, because I 
learned from the captain that the invoice of cigars was a ma- 
licious trick, palmed off on the Areostatico's owners by her 
captain, in order to thwart or embarrass me, when he heard I 
was to be intrusted with the purchase of a cargo on the coast. 

At the appointed day, La Fortuna sailed with 220 human 
beings packed in her hold. Three months afterwards, I received 
advices that she safely landed 217 in the bay of Matanzas, and 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 



101 



that their sale yielded a clear profit on the voyage of forty-one 
thousand four hundred and thirty-eight dollars.* 

* As the reader may scarcely credit so large a profit, I subjoin an 
account of the fitting of a slave vessel from Havana in 1827, and the 
liquidation of her voyage in Cuba: — 

1. — Expenses Out. 
Cost of La Fortuna, a 90 ton schooner, . . . $3,700 00 



Fitting out, sails, carpenter and cooper's bills. 
Provisions for crew and slaves, .... 

Wages advanced to 18 men before the mast, 

" " to captain, mates, boatswain, cook, ) 
and steward, . . . . f 
200,000 cigars and 500 doubloons, cargo. 
Clearance and hush-money 



2,500 00 

1,115 00 

900 00 

440 00 

10,900 00 
200 00 



$19,755 00 
987 00 

$20,742 00 



Commission at 5 per cent,, .... 
Full cost of voyage out, 

2. — Expenses Home. 

Captain's head-money, at $8 a head, . . . 1,746 00 

Mate's " $4 "... . 873 00 

Second mate and boatswain's head-money, at $2 each ) „^„ ^ „ 

a head, ........ \ 

Captain's wages, 219 78 

Fiist mate's wages, ...... 175 56 

Second mate and boatswain's wages, . . . 307 12 

Cook and steward's wages, 264 00 

Eighteen sailors' wages 1,972 00 



3. — Expenses in Havana. 
Government officers, at $8 per head, . 
My commission on 217 slaves, expenses off, 
Consignees' commissions, . . . . 
217 slave dresses, at $2 each, 
Extra expenses of all kinds, say, 

Total expenses, 

4. — Returns. 
Value of vessel at auction, .... 
Proceeds of 217 slaves, 



$27,172 46 

1,736 00 
5,665 00 
8,873 00 
634 00 
1,000 00 

. $39,980 46 



$3,950 00 
77,469 00 

$81,419 00 



Resume. 



Total Returns, 
*' Expenses, 



Nett profit, 



$81,419 00 
39,980 46 

$41,438 54 



102 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

As I am now fairly embarked in a trade ■which absorbed so 
many of my most vigorous years, I suppose the reader will not 
be loth to learn a little of my experience in the alleged " cruel- 
ties " of this commerce ; and the first question, in all likelihood, 
that rises to his lips, is a solicitation to be apprised of the em- 
barkation and treatment of slaves on the dreaded voyage. 

An African factor of fair repute is ever careful to select his 
human cargo with consummate prudence, so as not only to supply 
his employers with athletic laborers, but to avoid any taint of 
disease that may affect the slaves in their transit to Cuba or the 
American main. Two days before embarkation, the head of 
every male and female is neatly shaved ; and, if the cargo be- 
longs to several owners, each man's brand is impressed on the 
body of his respective negro. This operation is performed with 
pieces of silver wire, or small irons fashioned into the merchant's 
initials, heated just hot enough to blister without burning the 
skin. When the entire cargo is the venture of but one pro- 
prietor, the branding is always dispensed with. 

On the appointed day, the barracoon or slave-pen is made 
joyous by the abundant " feed " which signalizes the negro's 
last hours in his native country. The feast over, they are taken 
alongside the vessel in canoes ; and as they touch the deck, they 
are entirely stripped, so that women as well as men go out of 
Africa as they came into it — naked. This precaution, it will be 
understood, is indispensable; for perfect nudity, during the whole 
voyage, is the only means of securing cleanliness and health. In 
this state, they are immediately ordered below, the men to the 
hold and the women to the cabin, while boys and girls are, day 
and night, kept on deck, where their sole protection from the 
elements is a sail in fair weather, and a tarpaulin in foul. 

At meal time they are distributed in messes of ten. Thirty 
years ago, when the Spanish slave trade was lawful, the captains 
were somewhat more ceremoniously religious than at present, and 
it was then a universal habit to make the gangs say grace before 
meat, and give thanks afterwards. In our days, however, they 
dispense with this ritual, and content themselves with a " Viva 
la Habana^^ or " hurrah for Havana," accompanied by a clapping 
of hands. 




BR AX DING A NKORESS. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 103 

This over, a bucket of salt water is served to each mess, by 
way of " finger glasses " for the ablution of hands, after which a 
kidd^ — either of rice, farina, yams, or beans, — according to the 
tribal habit of the negroes, is placed before the squad. In order 
to prevent greediness or inequality in the appropriation of 
nourishment, the process is performed by signals from a monitor, 
whose motions indicate when the darkies shall dip and when 
they shall swallow. 

It is the duty of a guard to report immediately whenever a 
slave refuses to eat, in order that his abstinence may be traced 
to stubborness or disease. Negroes have sometimes been found 
in slavers who attempted voluntary starvation ; so that, when the 
watch reports the patient to be " shamming," his appetite is 
stimulated by the medical antidote of a " cat." If the slave, 
however, is truly ill, he is forthwith ticketed for the sick-list by 
a bead or button around his neck, and dispatched to an infirmary 
in the forecastle. 

These meals occur twice daily, — at ten in the morning and 
four in the afternoon, — and are terminated by another ablution. 
Thrice in each twenty-four hours they are served with half a pint 
of water. Pipes and tobacco are circulated economically among 
both sexes ; but, as each negro cannot be allowed the luxury of a 
separate bowl, boys are sent round with an adequate supply, 
allowing a few whiff's to each individual. On regular days, — 
probably three times a week, — their mouths are carefully rinsed 
with vinegar, while, nearly every morning, a dram is given as an 
antidote to scurvy. 

Although it is found necessary to keep the sexes apart, they 
are allowed to converse freely during day while on deck. Cor- 
poral punishment is never inflicted save by order of an ojficer, 
and, even then, not until the culprit understands exactly why it 
is done. Once a week, the ship's barber scrapes their chins 
without assistance from soap ; and, on the same day, their nails 
are closely pared, to insure security from harm in those nightly 
battles that occur, when the slave contests with his neighbor 
every inch of plank to which he is glued. During afternoons of 
serene weather, men, women, girls, and boys are allowed to unite 



104 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

in African melodies, which they always enhance by an extempo- 
raneous tom-tom on the bottom of a tub or tin kettle. 

These hints will apprise the reader that the greatest care, 
compatible with safety, is taken of a negro's health and cleanli- 
ness on the voyage. In every well-conducted slaver, the captain, 
officers, and crew, are alert and vigilant to preserve the cargo. 
It is their personal interest, as well as the interest of humanity 
to do so. The boatswain is incessant in his patrol of purifica- 
tion, and disinfecting substances are plenteously distributed. 
The upper deck is washed and swabbed daily ; the slave deck is 
scraped and holy-stoned ; and, at nine o'clock each morning, the 
captain inspects every part of his craft ; so that no vessel, except 
a man-of-war, can compare with a slaver in systematic order, 
purity, and neatness. I am not aware that the ship-fever, which 
sometimes decimates the emigrants from Europe, has ever pre- 
vailed in these African traders. 

At sundown, the process of stowing the slaves for the night 
is begun. The second mate and boatswain descend into the 
hold, whip in hand, and range the slaves in their regular places; 
those on the right side of the vessel facing forward, and lying 
in each other's lap, while those on the left are similarly stowed 
with their faces towards the stern. In this way each negro lies 
on his right side, which is considered preferable for the action of 
the heart. In allotting places, particular attention is paid to 
size, the taller being selected for the greatest breadth of the 
vessel, while the shorter and younger are lodged near the bows. 
When the cargo is large and the lower deck crammed, the super- 
numeraries are disposed of on deck, which is securely covered 
with boards to shield them from moisture. The strict discipline 
of nightly stowage is, of course, of the greatest importance in 
slavers, else every negro would accommodate himself as if he 
were a passenger. 

In order to insure perfect silence and regularity during night, 
a slave is chosen as constable from every ten, and furnished with 
a " cat " to enforce commands during his appointed watch. In 
remuneration for his services, which, it may be believed, are 
admirably performed whenever the whip is required, he is adorned 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 105 

with an old shirt or tarry trowsers. Now and then, billets of 
wood are distributed among the sleepers, but this luxury is never 
granted until the good temper of the negroes is ascertained, for 
slaves have often been tempted to mutiny by the power of arming 
themselves with these pillows from the forest. 

It is very probable that many of my readers will consider it 
barbarous to make slaves lie down naked upon a board, but let 
me inform them that native Africans are not familiar with the 
use of feather-beds, nor do any but the free and rich in their 
mother country indulge in the luxury even of a mat or raw- hide. 
Among the Mandingo chiefs, — the most industrious and civilized 
of Africans, — the beds, divans, and sofas, are heaps of mud, 
covered with untanned skins for cushions, while logs of wood 
serve for bolsters ! I am of opinion, therefore, that emigrant 
slaves experience very slight inconvenience in lying down on the 
deck. 

But ventilation is carefully attended to. The hatches and 
bulkheads of every slaver are grated, and apertures are cut 
about the deck for ampler circulation of air. Wind-sails, too, are 
constantly pouring a steady draft into the hold, except during a 
chase, when, of course, every comfort is temporarily sacrificed 
for safety. During calms or in light and baffling winds, when the 
sufibcating air of the tropics makes ventilation impossible, the 
gratings are always removed, and portions of the slaves allowed 
to repose at night on deck, while the crew is armed to watch the 
sleepers. 

Handcuffs are rarely used on shipboard. It is the common 
custom to secure slaves in the barracoons^ and while shipping, 
by chaining ten in a gang ; but as these platoons would be ex- 
tremely inconvenient at sea, the manacles are immediately taken 
off and replaced by leg-irons, which fasten them in pairs by the 
feet. Shackles are never used but for full-grown men^ while 
women and boys are set at liberty as soon as tjjey embark. It 
frequently happens that when the behavior of male slaves war- 
rants their freedom, they are released from all fastenings long 
before they arrive. Irons are altogether dispensed with on many 
Brazilian slavers, as negroes from Anjuda, Benin, and Angola, 
5* 



106 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

are mild; and unaddicted to revolt like those who dwell east of 
the Cape or north of the Gold Coast. Indeed, a knowing trader 
will never use chains but when compelled, for the longer a slave 
is ironed the more he deteriorates ; and, as his sole object is to 
land a healthy cargo, pecuniary interest, as well as natural feel- 
ing, urges the sparing of metal. 

My object in writing this palliative description is not to excul- 
pate the slavers or their commerce, but to correct those exagger- 
ated stories which have so long been current in regard to the 
usual voyage of a trader. I have always believed that the cause 
of humanity, as well as any other cause, was least served by 
over-statement ; and I am sure that if the narratives given by 
Englishmen are true, the voyages they detail must either have 
occurred before my day, or were conducted in British vessels, 
while her majesty's subjects still considered the traffic lawful.* 

* The treaty with Spain, which was designed by Great Britain to end 
tlie slave trade, failed utterly to produce the desired result. 

All -profitable trade, — illicit, contraband, or what not, — uiill be carried 
on by avaricious men, as long as the temptation continues. Accordingly, 
whenever a trade becomes forced, the only and sure result of violent 
restriction is to imperil still more both life and cargo. 

1st. — The treaty with Spain, it is said, was enforced some time before 
it was pi'operly promulgated or notified ; so that British cruisers seized 
over eighty vessels, one third of which certainly were not designed for 
slave-trade. 

2d. — As the compact condemned slave vessels to be broken up, the 
Bailing qualities of craft were improved to facilitate escape, rather than 
insure human comfort. 

3d. — The Spanish slavers had recourse to Brazilians and Portuguese to 
cover their property ; and, as slavers could not be fitted out in Cuba, other 
nations sent their vessels ready equipped to Africa, and (under the jib- 
booms of cruisers) Sardinians, Frenchmen and Americans, transferred them 
to slave traders, while the captains and parts of the crew took passage home 
in regular merchantmen. 

4th. — As the treaty created greater risk, every method of economy was 
resorted to ; and the crowding and cramming of slaves was one of the 
most prominent results. Water and provisions were diminished; and 
every thing was sacrificed for gain. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER- 107 



CHAPTER XII. 

In old times, before treaties made slave-trade piracy, the land- 
ing of human cargoes was as comfortably conducted as the dis- 
embarkation of flour. But now, the enterprise is effected with 
secrecy and hazard. A wild, uninhabited portion of the coast, 
where some little bay or sheltering nook exists, is commonly 
selected by the captain and his confederates. As soon as the 
vessel is driven close to the beach and anchored, her boats are 
packed with slaves, while the craft is quickly dismantled to avoid 
detection from sea or land. The busy skiflfs are hurried to and 
fro incessantly till the cargo is entirely ashore, when the secured 
gang, led by the captain, and escorted by armed sailors, is rapid- 
ly marched to the nearest plantation. There it is safe from the 
rapacity of local magistrates, who, if they have a chance, imitate 
their superiors by exacting ^'' gratifications. '''' 

In the mean time, a courier has been dispatched to the 
owners in Havana, Matanzas, or Santiago de Cuba, who imme- 
diately post to the plantation with clothes for the slaves and gold 
for the crew. Preparations are quickly made through brokers 
for the sale of the blacks ; while the vessel, if small, is disguised, 
to warrant her return under the coasting flag to a port of clear- 
ance. If the craft happens to be large, it is considered perilous 
to attempt a return with a cargo, or " in distresi^^ and, accord- 
ingly, she is either sunk or burnt where she lies. 



108 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

When the genuine African reaches a plantation for the first 
time, he fancies himself in paradise. He is amazed by the 
generosity with which he is fed with fruit and fresh provisions. 
His new clothes, red cap, and roasting blanket (a civilized 
superfluity he never dreamed of), strike him dumb with delight, 
and, in his savage joy, he not only forgets country, relations, 
and friends, but skips about like a monkey, while he dons his 
garments wrongside out or hind-part before ! The arrival of a 
carriage or cart creates no little confusion among the Ethiopian 
groups, who never imagined that beasts could be made to work. 
But the climax of wonder is reached when that paragon of oddi- 
ties, a Cuban 'postilion^ dressed in his sky-blue coat, silver- 
laced hat, white breeches, polished jackboots, and ringing spurs, 
leaps from his prancing quadruped, and bids them welcome in 
their mother tongue. Every African rushes to " snap fingers " 
with his equestrian brother, who, according to orders, forthwith 
preaches an edifying sermon on the happiness of being a white 
man's slave, taking care to jingle his spurs and crack his whip 
at the end of every sentence, by way of amen. 

Whenever a cargo is owned by several proprietors, each one 
takes his share at once to his plantation ; but if it is the pro- 
perty of speculators, the blacks are sold to any one who requires 
them before removal from the original depot. The sale is, of 
course, conducted as rapidly as possible, to forestall the inter- 
ference of British officials with the Captain-General. 

Many of the Spanish Governors in Cuba have respected 
treaties, or, at least, promised to enforce the laws. Squadrons 
of dragoons and troops of lancers have been paraded with con- 
venient delay, and ordered to gallop to plantations designated 
by the representative of England. It generally happens, how- 
ever, that when the hunters arrive the game is gone. Scandal 
declares that, while brokers are selling the blacks at the depot, 
it is not unusual for their owner or his agent to be found 
knocking at the door of the Captain-General's secretary. It is 
even said that the Captain-General himself is sometimes pre- 
sent in the sanctuary, and, after a familiar chat about the happy 
landing of " the contraband," — as the traffic is amiably called, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 109 

the requisite rouleaux are insinuated into the official desk under 
the intense smoke of a fragrant cigarillo. The metal is always 
considered the property of the Captain -General, but his scribe 
avails himself of a lingering farewell at the door, to hint an 
immediate and pressing need for " a very small darkey ! " Next 
day, the diminutive African does not appear ; but, as it is be- 
lieved that Spanish officials prefer gold even to mortal flesh, his 
algebraic equivalent is unquestionably furnished in the shape of 
shining ounces ! 

The prompt dispatch I gave the schooner Fortuna, started 
new ideas among the traders of the Rio Pongo. so that it was 
generally agreed my method of dividing the cargo among differ- 
ent factors was not only most advantageous for speed, but pre- 
vented monopoly, and gave all an equal chance. At a " grand 
palaver " or assemblage of the traders on the river, it was re- 
solved that this should be the course of trade for the future. 
All the factors, except Ormond, attended and assented ; but 
we learned that the Mongo's people, with difficulty prevented 
him from sending an armed party to break up our deliberations. 

The knowledge of this hostile feeling soon spread throughout 
the settlement and adjacent towns, creating considerable excite- 
ment against Ormond. My plan and principles were approved 
by the natives as well as foreigners, so that warning was sent 
the Mongo, if any harm befell Joseph and Theodore, it would 
be promptly resented. Our native landlord, Ali-Ninpha, a 
Foulah by descent, told him boldly, in presence of his people, 
that the Africans were " tired of a mulatto Mongo ; " and, from 
that day, his power dwindled away visibly, though a show of 
respect was kept up in consequence of his age and ancient im- 
portance. 

During these troubles, the Areostatico returned to my con- 
signment, and in twenty-two days was dispatched with a choice 
cargo of Mandingos, — a tribe, which had become fashionable for 
house servants among the Havanese. But the luckless vessel 
was never heard of, and it is likely she went down in some of 
the dreadful gales that scourged the coast immediately after her 
departure. 



1 1 CAPTAIN CANOT *, OR, 



CHAPTER XIII. 

I HAD now grown to such sudden importance among the natives, 
that the neighboring chiefs and kings sent me daily messages 
of friendship, with trifling gifts that I readily accepted. One 
of these bordering lords, more generous and insinuating than 
the rest, hinted several times his anxiety for a closer connection 
in affection as well as trade, and, at length, insisted upon becom- 
ing my father-in-law ! 

I had always heard in Italy that it was something to receive 
the hand of a princess, even after long and tedious wooing ; but 
now that I was surrounded by a mob of kings, who absolutely 
thrust their daughters on me, I confess I had the bad taste not 
to leap with joy at the royal offering. Still, I was in a difficult 
position, as no graver offence can be given a chief than to reject 
his child. It is so serious an insult to refuse a wife, that, high 
born natives, in order to avoid quarrels or war, accept the tender 
boon, and as soon as etiquette permits, pass it over to a friend or 
relation. As the offer was made to me personally by the king, I 
found the utmost difficulty in escaping. Indeed, he would re- 
ceive no excuse. When I declined on account of the damsel's 
youth, he laughed incredulously. If I urged the feebleness of 
my health and tardy convalescence, he insisted that a regular life 
of matrimony was the best cordial for an impaired constitution. 
In fact, the paternal solicitude of his majesty for my doubloons 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. Ill 

was SO urgent that I was on the point of yielding myself a 
patient sacrifice, when Joseph came to my relief with the offer 
of his hand as a substitute. 

The Gordian knot was cut. Prince Yungee in reality did not 
care so much who should be his son-in-law as that he obtained 
one with a white skin and plentiful purse. Joseph or Theodore, 
Saxon or Italian, made no difference to the chief; and, as is the 
case in all Oriental lands, the opinion of the lady was of no im- 
portance whatever. 

I cannot say that my partner viewed this matrimonial pro- 
ject with the disgust that I did. Perhaps he was a man of 
more liberal philosophy and wider views of human brotherhood ; 
at any rate, his residence in Africa gave him a taste not only for 
its people, habits, and superstitions, but he upheld practical 
amalgamation with more fervor and honesty than a regular 
abolitionist. Joseph was possessed by Africo-mania. He ad- 
mired the women, the men, the language, the cookery, the music. 
He would fall into philharmonic ecstasies over the discord of a 
bamboo tom-tom. I have reason to believe that even African 
barbarities had charms for the odd Englishman ; but he was 
chiefly won by the dolcefar niente of the natives, and the Oriental 
license of polygamy. In a word, Joseph had the same taste for a 
full-blooded ciiffee, that an epicure has for the haut gout of a 
stale partridge, and was in ecstasies at my extrication. He neg- 
lected his siestas and his accounts ; he wandered from house to 
house with the rapture of an impatient bridegroom : and, till 
every thing was ready for the nuptial rites, no one at the factory 
had a moment's rest. 

As the bride's relations were eminent folks on the upper part 
of t|?e river, they insisted that the marriage ceremony should be 
performed with all the honorable formalities due to the lady's 
rank. Esther, who acted as my mentor in every " country-ques- 
tion," suggested that it would be contrary to the Englishman's 
interest to ally himself with a family whose only motive was sor- 
did. She strongly urged that if he persisted in taking the girl, 
he should do so without a " colungee^'' or ceremonial feast. But 
Joseph was obstinate as a bull ; and as he doubted whether he 



112 

would ever commit matrimony again, he insisted that the nup- 
tials should be celebrated with all the fashionable splendor of 
high life in Africa. 

When this was decided, it became necessary, by a fiction 
of etiquette, to ignore the previous offer of the bride, and to 
begin anew, as if the damsel were to be sought in the most deli- 
cate way by a desponding lover. She must be demanded for- 
mally, by the bridegroom from her reluctant mother ; and accord- 
ingly, the most respectable matron in our colony was chosen by 
Joseph from his colored acquaintances to be the bearer of his 
valentine. In the present instance, the selected Cupid was the 
principal wife of our native landlord, AliNinpha; and, as Afri- 
cans as well as Turks love by the pound, the dame happened to 
be one of the fattest, as well as most respectable, in our parish. 
Several female attaches were added to the suite of the ambassa- 
dress, who forthwith departed to make a proper " danticay 
The gifts selected were of four kinds. First of all, two demi- 
johns of trade-TVim. were filled to gladden the community of Mon- 
go-Yungee's town. Next, a piece of blue cotton cloth, a musket, 
a keg of powder, and a demijohn of pure rum, were packed for 
papa. Thirdly, a youthful virgin dressed in a white " tonton- 
gee,"^ a piece of white cotton cloth, a white basin, a white sheep, 
and a basket of white rice, were put up for mamma, in token of her 
daughter's purity. And, lastly, a German looking-glass, several 
bunches of beads, a coral necklace, a dozen of turkey-red hand- 
kerchiefs, and a spotless white country-cloth, were presented to 
the bride ; together with a decanter of white palm oil for the 
anointment of her ebony limbs after the bath, which is never neg- 
lected by African belles. 

While the missionary of love was absent, our sighing ^wain 
devoted his energies to the erection of a bridal palace ; and the 
task required just as many days as were employed in the crea- 
tion of the world. The building was finished by the aid of bam- 

* A tontongee is a strip of white cotton cloth, three inches wide and 
four feet long, used as a virgin African^s only dress. It is wound round 
the limbs, and, hanging partly in front and partly behind, is supported 
from the maiden's waist by strands of showee-bcads. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 113 

boos, straw, and a modicum of mud ; and, as Joseph imagined 
that love and coolness were secured in such a climate by 
utter darkness, he provided an abundance of that commodity by 
omitting windows entirely. The furnishing of the domicil was 
completed with all the luxury of native taste. An elastic four- 
poster was constructed of bamboos ; some dashing crockery was 
set about the apartment for display ; a cotton quilt was cast over 
the matted couch ; an old trunk served for bureau and ward- 
robe ; and, as negresses adore looking-glasses, the largest in our 
warehouse was nailed against the door, as the only illuminated 
part of the edifice. 

At last all was complete, and Joseph snapped his fingers with 
delight, when the corpulent dame waddled up asthmatically, and 
announced with a wheeze that her mission was prosperous. If 
there had ever been doubt, there was now no more. The oracu- 
lar '-'- feilicW'' had announced that the delivery of the bride to 
her lord might take place " on the tenth day of the new 
moon." 

As the planet waxed from its slender sickle to the thicker 
quarter, the impatience of my Cockney waxed with it ; but, at 
length, the firing of muskets, the twang of horns, and the rattle 
of tom-toms, gave notice from the river that Coomba, the bride, 
was approaching the quay. Joseph and myself hastily donned 
our clean shirts, white trousers, and glistening pumps; and, under 
the shade of broad sombreros and umbrellas, proceeded to greet 
the damsel. Our fat friend, the matron ; Ali-Niupha, her hus- 
band ; our servants, and a troop of village ragamuffins, accom- 
panied us to the water's brink, so that we were just in time to 
receive the five large canoes bearing the escort of the king and 
his daughter. Boat after boat disgorged its passengers ; but, to 
our dismay, they ranged themselves apart, and were evidently 
displeased. When the last canoe, decorated with flags, containing 
the bridal party, approached the strand, the chief of the escort 
signalled it to stop and forbade the landing. 

In a moment there was a general row — a row, conceivable 
only by residents of Africa, or those whose ears have been re- 
galed with the chattering of a " wilderness of monkeys." Our 



114 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

lusty factotum was astonished. The Cockney aspirated his Ws 
with uncommon volubility. We hastened from one to the other 
to inquire the cause ; nor was it until near half an hour had 
been wasted in palaver, that I found they considered themselves 
slighted, first of all because we had not fired a salvo in their 
honor, and secondly because we failed to spread mats from the 
beach to the house, upon which the bride might place her virgin 
feet without defilement ! These were indispensable formalities 
among the " upper ten ; " and the result was that Coomba could 
not land unless the etiquette were fulfilled. 

Here, then, was a sad dilemma. The guns could be fired in- 
stantly ; — but where, alas ! at a moment's notice, were we to 
obtain mats enough to carpet the five hundred yards of transit 
from the river to the house ? The match must be broken off ! 

My crest-fallen cockney immediately began to exculpate him- 
self by pleading ignorance of the country's customs, — assuring 
the strangers that he had not the slightest inkling of the require- 
ment. Still, the stubborn " master of ceremonies " would not 
relax an iota of his rigorous behests. 

At length, our bulky dame approached the master of the 
bridal party, and, squatting on her knees, confessed her neglect- 
ful fault. Then, for the first time, I saw a gleam of hope. 
Joseph improved the moment by alleging that he employed this 
lady patroness to conduct every thing in the sublimest style im- 
aginable, because it was presumed no one knew better than she 
all that was requisite for so admirable and virtuous a lady as 
Coomba. Inasmuch, however, as he had been disappointed by 
her unhappy error, he did not think the blow should fall on his 
shoulders. The negligent matron ought to pay the penalty ; and, 
as it was impossible now to procure the mats, she should forfeit 
the value of a slave to aid the merry-making, and carry the 
bride on her hack from the river to her home I 

A clapping of hands and a quick murmur of assent ran through 
the crowd, telling me that the compromise was accepted. But 
the porterage was no sinecure for the delinquent elephant, who 
found it difficult at times to get along over African sands even 
without a burden. Still, no time was lost in further parley or 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 115 

remonstrance. The muskets and cannon were brought down and 
exploded ; the royal boat was brought to the landing ; father, 
mother, brothers, and relations were paraded on the strand ; tom- 
toms and horns were beaten and blown ; and, at last, the suifer- 
ing missionary waddled to the canoe to receive the veiled form 
of the slender bride. 

The process of removal was accompanied by much merriment. 
Our corpulent porter groaned as she '• larded the lean earth" 
beneath her ponderous tread ; but, in due course of labor 
and patience, she sank with her charge on the bamboo couch of 
Master Joseph. 

As soon as the bearer and the burden were relieved from 
their fatigue, the maiden was brought to the door, and, as her 
long concealing veil of spotless cotton was unwrapped from head 
and limbs, a shout of admiration went up from the native crowd 
that followed us from the quay to the hovel. As Joseph re- 
ceived the hand of Coomba, he paid the princely fee of a slave to 
the matron. 

CooMBA had certainly not numbered more than sixteen years, 
yet, in that burning region, the sex ripen bug before their pallid 
sisters of the North. She belonged to the Soosoo tribe, but was 
descended from Mandingo ancestors, and I was particularly struck 
by the uncommon symmetry of her tapering limbs. Her fea- 
tures and head, though decidedly African, were not of that coarse 
and heavy cast that marks the lineaments of her race. The 
grain of her shining skin was as fine and polished as ebony. A 
melancholy languor subdued and deepened the blackness of her 
large eyes, while her small and even teeth gleamed with the bril- 
liant purity of snow. Her mouth was rosy and even delicate ; 
and, indeed, had not her ankles, feet, and wool, manifested the 
unfortunate types of her kindred, Coomba, the daughter of 
Mongo-Yungee, might have passed for 2, chef (Tczuvrc in black 
marble. 

The scant dress of the damsel enabled me to be so minute in 
this catalogue of her charms ; and, in truth, had I not inspected 
them closely, I would have violated matrimonial etiquette as 
much as if I failed to admire the trousseau and gifts of a bride 



116 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

at home. Coomba's costume was as innocently primitive as 
Eve's after the expulsion. Like all maidens of her country, she 
had beads round her ankles, beads round her waist, beads round 
her neck, while an abundance of bracelets hooped her arms from 
wrist to elbow. The white tontojtgpe still girdled her loins ; 
but Coomba's climate was her mantuamaker, and indicated more 
necessity for ornament than drapery. ^Accordingly, Coomba was 
obedient to Nature, and troubled herself very little about a sup- 
ply of useless garments, to load the presses and vex the purse of 
her bridegroom. 

As soon as the process of unveiling was over, and time had 
been allowed the spectators to behold the damsel, her mother led 
her gently to the fat ambassadress, who, with her companions, 
bore the girl to a bath for ablution, anointment, and per- 
fuming. While Coomba underwent this ceremony at the hands 
of our matron, flocks of sable dames entered the apartment ; 
and, as they withdrew, shook hands with her mother, in token 
of the maiden's purity, and with the groom in compliment to his 
luck. 

As soon as the bath and oiling were over, six girls issued 
from the hut, bearing the glistening bride on a snow-white sheet 
to the home of her spouse. The transfer was soon completed, 
and the burden deposited on the nuptial bed. The dwelling was 
then closed and put in charge of sentinels ; when the plump 
plenipotentiary approached the Anglo Saxon, and handing him 
the scant fragments of the bridal dress, pointed to the door, and, 
in a loud voice, exclaimed : " White man, this authorizes you to 
take possession of your wife ! " 

It may naturally be supposed that our radiant cockney was 
somewhat embarrassed by so public a display of matrimonial 
happiness, at six o'clock in the afternoon, on the thirtieth day of 
a sweltering June. Joseph could not help looking at me with a 
blush and a laugh, as he saw the eyes of the whole crowd fixed 
on his movements ; but, nerving himself like a man, he made a 
profound salamn to the admiring multitude, and shaking my 
hand with a convulsive grip, plunged into the darkness of his 
abode, A long pole was forthwith planted before the door, and 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 117 

a slender strip of white cotton, about the size of a " tontongee^'' 
was hoisted in token of privacy, and floated from the staff like a 
pennant, giving notice that the commodore is aboard. 

No sooner were these rites over, than the house was sur- 
rounded by a swarm of women from the adjacent villages, whose 
incessant songs, screams, chatter, and tomtom beatings, drowned 
every mortal sound. Meanwhile, the men of the party — whose 
merriment around an enormous bonfire was augmented by abun- 
dance of liquor and provisions — amused themselves in dancing, 
shouting, yelling, and discharging muskets in honor of the nup- 
tials. 

Such was the ceaseless serenade that drove peace from the 
lovers' pillow during the whole of that memorable night. At 
dawn, the corpulent matron again appeared from among the 
wild and reeling crowd, and concluding her functions by some 
mysterious ceremonies, led forth the lank groom from the dark 
cavity of his hot and sleepless oven, looking more like a bewil- 
dered wretch rescued from drowning, than a radiant lover fresh 
from his charmer. In due time, the bride also was brought forth 
by the matrons for the bath, where she was anointed from head 
to foot with a vegetable butter, — whose odor is probably more 
agreeable to Africans than Americans, — and fed with a bowl of 
broth made from a young and tender pullet. 

The marriage fetca lasted three days, after which I insisted 
that Joseph should give up nonsense for business, and sobered 
his ecstasies by handing him a wedding-bill for five hundred and 
fifty dollars. 

There is hardly a doubt that he considered Coomba very 
dear^ if not absolutely adorable ! 



lis CAPTAIN canot; or, 



[CHAPTEK XIV. 

I am sorry to say that my colleague's honeymoon did not last 
long, although it was not interrupted by domestic discord. One 
of his malicious Sierra Leone creditors, who bad not been dealt 
with quite as liberally as the rest, called on the colonial gover- 
nor of that British establishment, and alleged that a certain 
Edward Joseph, an Englishman, owned a factory on the Rio 
Pongo, in company with a Spaniard, and was engaged in the 
slave trade ! 

At this the British lion, of course, growled in his African 
cage, and bestirred himself to punish the recreant cub. An ex- 
pedition was forthwith fitted out to descend upon our little estab- 
lishment ; and, in all likelihood, the design would have been 
executed, had not our friendly Israelite in Sierra Leone sent us 
timely warning. No sooner did the news arrive than Joseph 
embarked in a slaver, and, packing up his valuables, together 
with sixty negroes, fled from Africa. His disconsolate bride 
was left to return to her parents. 

As the hostile visit from the British colony was hourly ex- 
pected, I did not tarry long in putting a new face on Kambia. 
Fresh books were made out in my name exclusively ; their dates 
were carefully suited to meet all inquiries ; and the townspeople 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 119 

were prepared to answer impertinent questions; so that, when 
Lieutenant Findlay, of Her Britannic Majesty's naval service, 
made his appearance in the river, with three boats bearing the 
cross of St. George, no man in the settlement was less anxious 
than Don Teodore, the Spaniard. 

When the lieutenant handed me an order from the governor 
of Sierra Leone and its dependencies, authorizing him to burn or 
destroy the property of Joseph, as well as to arrest that person- 
age himself, I regretted that I was unable to facilitate his patri- 
otic projects, inasmuch as the felon was afloat on salt water, while 
all his property had long before been conveyed to me by a reg- 
ular bill of sale. In proof of my assertions, I produced the in- 
strument and the books ; and when I brought in our African 
landlord to sustain me in every particular, the worthy lieutenant 
was forced to relinquish his hostility and accept an invitation to 
dinner. His conduct during the whole investigation was that of 
a gentleman ; which, I am sorry to say, was not always the case 
with his professional countrymen. 

During the rainy season, which begins in June and lasts till 
October, the stores of provisions in establishments along the 
Atlantic coast often become sadly impaired. The Foulah and 
Mandingo tribes of the interior are prevented by the swollen 
condition of intervening streams from visiting the beach with 
their produce. In these straits, the factories have recourse by 
canoes to the smaller rivers, which are neither entered by sea« 
going vessels, nor blockaded for the caravans of interior chiefs. 

Among the tribes or clans visited by me in such seasons, I 
do not remember any whose intercourse afforded more pleasure, 
or exhibited nobler traits, than the Bagers, who dwell on the 
solitary margins of these shallow rivulets, and subsist by boiling 
salt in the dry season and making palm oil in the wet. I have 
never read an account of these worthy blacks, whose civility, 
kindness, and honesty will compare favorably with those of more 
civilized people. 

The Bagers live very much apart from the great African 
tribes, and keep up their race by intermarriage. The language 



120 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

is peculiar, and altogether devoid of that Italian softness that 
makes the Soosoo so musical. 

Having a week or two of perfect leisure, I determined to 
set out in a canoe to visit one of these establishments, especially 
as no intelligence had reached me for some time from one of mj 
country traders who had been dispatched thither with an invoice 
of goods to purchase palm oil. My canoe was comfortably fitted 
with a water-proof awning, and provisioned for a week. 

A tedious pull along the coast and through the dangerous 
surf, brought us to the narrow creek through whose marshy 
mesh of mangroves we squeezed our canoe to the bank. Even 
after landing, we waded a considerable distance through marsh 
before we reached the solid land. The Eager town stood some 
hundred yards from the landing, at the end of a desolate savanna, 
whose lonely waste spread as far as the eye could reach. The 
village itself seemed quite deserted, so that I had difficulty in 
finding " the oldest inhabitant," who invariably stays at home 
and acts the part of chieftain. This venerable personage wel- 
comed me with great cordiality ; and, having made my dantica^ 
or, in other words, declared the purpose of my visit, I desired to 
be shown the trader's house. The patriarch led me at once to a 
hut, whose miserable thatch was supported by four posts. Here 
I recognized a large chest, a rum cask, and the grass hammock 
of my agent. I was rather exasperated to find my property thus 
neglected and exposed, and began venting my wrath in no seemly 
terms on the delinquent clerk, when my conductor laid his hand 
gently on my sleeve, and said there was no need to blame him. 
" This," continued he, "is his house ; here your property is shel- 
tered from sun and rain ; and, among the Bagers, whenever 3'our 
goods are protected from the elements, they are safe from every 
danger. Your man has gone across the plain to a neighboring 
town for oil ; to-night he will be back ; — in the mean time, look 
at your goods ! " 

I opened the chest, which, to my surprise, was unlocked, 
and found it nearly full of the merchandise I had placed in it. 
I shook the cask, and its weight seemed hardly diminished. I 
turned the spiggot, and lo ! the rum trickled on my feet. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 121 

Hard-by was a temporary shed, filled to the roof with hides and 
casks of palm oil, all of which, the gray-beard declared was my 
property. 

Whilst making this inspection, I have no doubt the expres- 
sion of my face indicated a good deal of wonder, for I saw the 
old man smile complacently as he followed me with his quiet 
eye. 

" Grood ! " said the chief, " it is all there, — is it not ? We 
Bagers are neither Soosoos, Mandingoes, Foulahs, nor White- 
men, that the goods of a stranger are not safe in our towns ! 
We work for a living ; we want little ; big ships never come to 
us, and we neither steal from our guests nor go to war to sell one 
another ! " 

The conversation, I thought, was becoming a little personal ; 
and, with a gesture of impatience, I put a stop to it. On second 
thoughts, however, I turned abruptly round, and shaking the 
noble savage's hand with a vigor that made him wince, presented 
him with a piece of cloth. Had Diogenes visited Africa in 
search of his man, it is by no means unlikely that he might have 
extinguished his lamp among the Bagers ! 

It was about two o'clock in the afternoon when I arrived in 
the town, which, as I before observed, seemed quite deserted, 
except by a dozen or two ebony antiquities, who crawled into 
the sunshine when they learned the advent of a stranger. The 
young people were absent gathering palm nuts in a neighbor- 
iDg grove. A couple of hours before sundown, my trader re- 
turned ; and, shortly after, the merry gang of villagers made 
their appearance, laughing, singing, dancing, and laden with 
fruit. As soon as the gossips announced the arrival of a white 
man during their absence, the little hut that had been hospitably 
assigned me was surrounded by a crowd, five or six deep, of men, 
women, and children. The pressure was so close and sudden 
that I was almost stifled. Finding they would not depart until 
I made myself visible, I emerged from concealment and shook 
hands with nearly all. The women, in particular, insisted on 
gratifying themselves with a sumboo or smell at my face, — which 
6 



122 

is the native's kiss, — and folded their long black arms in an 
embrace of my neck, threatening peril to my shirt with their 
oiled and dusty flesh. However, I noticed so much hon- 
hommie among the happy crew that my heart would not allow 
me to repulse them ; so I kissed the youngest and shunned the 
crones. In token of my good-will, I led a dozen or more of 
the prettiest to the rum-barrel, and made them happy for the 
night. 

When the townsfolks had comfortably nestled themselves in 
their hovels, the old chief, with a show of some formality, pre- 
sented me a heavy ram-goat, distinguished for its formidable 
head-ornaments, which, he said, was offered as a bonne-bouche, for 
my supper. He then sent a crier through the town, informing 
the women that a white stranger would be their guest during 
the night ; and, in less than half an hour, my hut was visited 
by most of the village dames and damsels. One brought a pint 
of rice ; another some roots of cassava ; another, a few spoons- 
full of palm oil ; another a bunch of peppers ; while the oldest 
lady of the party made herself particularly remarkable by the 
gift of a splendid fowl. In fact, the crier had hardly gone his 
rounds, before my mat was filled with the voluntary contributions 
of the villagers ; and the wants, not only of myself but of my 
eight rowers, completely supplied. 

There was nothing peculiar in this exhibition of hospitality, 
on account of my nationality. It was the mere fulfilment of a 
Eager law ; and the poorest black stranger would have shared 
the rite as well as myself I could not help thinking that I 
might have travelled from one end of England or America to the 
other, without meeting a Eager welcome. Indeed, it seemed 
somewhat questionable, whether it were better for the English to 
civilize Africa, or for the Bagers to send missionaries to their 
brethren in Britain ! 

These reflections, however, did not spoil my appetite, for I 
confess a feeling of unusual content and relish when the patriarch 
sat down with me before the covered bowls prepared for our sup- 
per. But, alas ! for human hopes and tastes ! As I lifted the 
lid from the vessel containing the steaming stew, its powerful 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 123 

fragrance announced the remains of that venerable quadruped 
with which I had been welcomed. It was probably not quite in 
etiquette among the Bagers to decline the stew, yet, had starva- 
tion depended on it, I could not have touched a morsel. Ac- 
cordingly, I forbore the mess and made free with the rice, sea- 
soning it well with salt and peppers. But my amiable landlord 
was resolved that I should not go to rest with such penitential 
fare, and ordered one of his wives to bring her supper to my 
lodge. A taste of the dish satisfied me that it was edible, 
though intensely peppered. I ate with the appetite of an alder- 
man, nor was it till two days after that my trader informed 
me I had supped so heartily on the spareribs of an alligator ! 
It was well that the hours of digestion had gone by, for though 
partial to the chase, I had never loved " water fowl " of so wild 
a character. 

When supper was over, I escaped from the hut to breathe a 
little fresh air before retiring for the night. Hardly had I put 
my head outside when I found myself literally inhaling the mos- 
quitoes that swarmed at nightfall over these marshy flats. I 
took it for granted that there was to be no rest for me in dark- 
ness among the Bagers ; but, when I mentioned my trouble to 
the chief, he told me that another hut had already been provided 
for my sleeping quarters, where my bed was made of certain 
green and odorous leaves which are antidotes to mosquitoes. 
After a little more chat, he offered to guide me to the hovel, a 
low, thickly matted bower, through whose single aperture I 
crawled on hands and knees. As soon as I was in, the entrance 
was closed, and although I felt very much as if packed in my 
grave, I slept an unbroken sleep till day dawn.* 

* These Bagers are remarkable for their honesty, as I was convinced 
by several anecdotes related, during my stay in this village, by my trading 
clerk. He took me to a neighboring lemon-tree, and exhibited an English 
brass steelyard hanging on its branches, which had been left there by a 
mulatto merchant from Sierra Leone, who died in the town on a trading 
trip. This article, with a chest half full of goods, deposited in the " pala- 
ver house," had been kept securely more than twelve years in expectation 
that some of his friends would send for them from the colony. The Bagers, 



124 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

My return to the Eio Pongo was attended with consider- 
able danger, yet I did not regret the trial of my spirit, as it 
enabled me to see a phase of African character which otherwise 
might have been missed. 

After passing two days among the Bagers, I departed once 
more in my canoe, impelled by the stout muscles of the Kroo- 
men. The breeze freshened as we passed from the river's mouth 
across the boiling surf of the bar, but, when we got fairly to sea, 
I found the Atlantic so vexed by the rising gale, that, in spite 
of waterproof awning and diligent bailing, we were several times 
near destruction. Still, I had great confidence in the native 
boatmen, whose skill in their skiffs is quite as great as their 
dexterity when naked in the water. I had often witnessed their 
agility as they escaped from capsized boats on the surf of our bar ; 
and often had I rewarded them with a dram, when they came, 
as from a frolic, dripping and laughing to the beach. 

When night began to fall around us the storm increased, and 

I was told, have nojujus, feitiches, or gregrees ; — they worship no god or 
evil spirit ; — their dead are buried without tears or ceremony ; — and their 
hereafter is eternal oblivion. 

The males of this tribe are of middling size and deep black color ; broad 
shouldered, but neither brave nor warlike. They keep aloof from other 
tribes, and by a Fullah law, are protected from foreign violence in con 
sequence of their occupation as salt-makers, which is regarded by the in- 
terior natives as one of the most useful trades. Their fondness for palm 
oil and the little work they are compelled to perform, make them general- 
ly indolent. Their dress is a single handkerchief, or a strip of country 
cloth four or five inches wide, most carefully put on. 

The young women have none of the sylphlike appearance of the Man- 
dingoes or Soosoos. They work hard and use palm oil plentifully both in- 
ternally and externally, so that their relaxed flesh is bloated like blubber. 
Both sexes shave their heads, and adorn their noses and lower lips with 
rings, while they penetrate their ears with porcupine quills or sticks. 
They neither sell nor buy each other, though they acquire children of both 
sexes from other tribes, and adopt them into their own, or dispose of them 
if not suitable. Their avails of work are commonly divided ; so the Bagers 
may be said to resemble the Mormons in polygamy, the Fourierites in com- 
munity, but to exceed both in honesty ! 

I am sorry that their nobler characteristics have so few imitators among 
the other tribes of Africa. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 125 

I could detect, by the low chatter and anxious looks of the 
rowers, that they were alarmed. As far as my eye reached 
landward, I could descry nothing but a continuous reef on which 
the chafed sea was dashing furiously in columns of the densest 
spray. Of course I felt that it was not my duty, nor would it 
be prudent, to undertake the guidance of the canoe in such cir- 
cumstances. Yet, I confess that a shudder ran through my 
nerves when I saw my "headman " suddenly change our course 
and steer the skiff directly towards the rocks. On she bounded 
like a racer. The sea through which they urged her foamed like 
a caldron with the rebounding surf Nothing but wave-lashed 
rock was before us. At last I could detect a narrow gap in the 
iron wall, which was filled with surges in the heaviest swells. 
We approached it, and paused at the distance of fifty feet. A 
wave had just burst through the chasm like a storming army. 
We waited for the succeeding lull. All hands laid still, — not a 
word was spoken or paddle dipped. Then came the next enor- 
mous swell under our stern ; — the oars flew like lightning ; — the 
canoe rose as a feather on the crest of the surf; — in a moment 
she shot through the cleft and reposed in smooth water near the 
shore. As we sped through the gap, I might have touched the 
rocks on both sides with my extended arms ! 
Such is the skill and daring of Kroomen. 



126 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



CHAPTEK XV. 

When the rains began to slacken, a petty caravan now and then 
straggled towards the coast ; but, as I was only a new-comer in 
the region, and not possessed of abundant means, I enjoyed a 
slender share of the trade. Still I consoled myself with the hope 
of better luck in the dry season. 

Jn the mean time, however, I not only heard of Joseph's safe 
arrival at Matanzas, but received a clerk whom he dispatched to 
dwell in Kambia while I visited the interior. Moreover, I built 
a boat, and sent her to Sierra Leone with a cargo of palm oil, to 
be exchanged for British goods; and, finally, during my perfect 
leisure, I went to work with diligence to study the trade in which 
fortune seemed to have cast my lot. 

It would be a task of many pages if I attempted to give a 
full account of the origin and causes of slavery in Africa. As 
a national institution, it seems to have existed always. Africans 
have been bondsmen every where : and the oldest monuments bear 
their images linked with menial toils and absolute servitude. 
Still, I have no hesitation in saying, that three fourths of the 
slaves &ent abroad from Africa are the fruit of native wars, 
fomented by the avarice and temptation of our own race. I 
cannot exculpate any commercial nation from this sweeping 
censure. We stimulate the negro's passions by the introduction 
of wants and fancies never dreamed of by the simple native, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 127 

while slavery was an institution of domestic need and comfort 
alone. But what was once a luxury has now ripened into an 
absolute necessity; so that man, z/i truth ^ has become the coin 
of Africa^ and the " legal tender " of a brutal trade. 

England, to-day, with all her philanthropy, sends, under the 
cross of St. George, to convenient magazines of laivful commerce 
on the coast, her Birmingham muskets, Manchester cottons, and 
Liverpool lead, all of which are righteously swapped at Sierra 
Leone, Acra, and on the Gold coast, for Spanish or Brazilian 
bills on London. Yet, what British merchant does not know 
the trafl&c on which those bills are founded, and for whose sup- 
port his wares are purchased ? France, with her bonnet rouge 
and fraternity, dispatches her Bouen cottons, Marseilles brandies, 
flimsy taffetas, and indescribable variety of tinsel gewgaws. 
Philosophic Germany demands a slice for her looking-glasses and 
beads ; while multitudes of our own worthy traders, who would 
hang a slaver as a pirate wJien caught^ do not hesitate to supply 
him indirectly with tobacco, powder, cotton, Yankee rum, and 
New England notions, in order to bait the trap in which he tnay 
be caught ' It is the temptation of these things, I repeat, that 
feeds the slave-making wars of Africa, and forms the human 
basis of those admirable bills of exchange. 

I did not intend to write a homily on Ethiopian commerce 
when I begun this chapter; but, on reviewing the substantial 
motives of the traffic, I could not escape a statement which tells 
its own tale, and is as unquestionable as the facts of verified his- 
tory. 

Such, then, may be said to be the predominating influence 
that supports the African slave trade ; yet, if commerce of all 
kinds were forbidden with that continent, the customs and laws 
of the natives would still encourage slavery as a domestic affair, 
though, of course, in a very modified degree. The rancorous 
family quarrels among tribes and parts of tribes, will always 
promote conflicts that resemble the forays of our feudal an- 
cestors, while the captives made therein will invariably become 
serfs. 

Besides this, the financial genius of Africa, instead of devising 



12S CAPTAIN canot; or, 

bank notes or the precious metals as a circulating medium, has 
from time immemorial, declared that a human creature, — the true 
representative and embodiment of labor, — is the most valuable 
article on earth. A man, therefore, becomes the standard of 
prices. A slave is a note of hand, that may be discounted or 
pawned ; he is a bill of exchange that carries himself to his desti- 
nation and pays a debt bodily ; he is a tax that walks corporeally 
into the chieftain's treasury. Thus, slavery is not likely to be 
surrendered by the negroes themselves as a national institution. 
Their social interests will continue to maintain hereditary bon- 
dage ; they will send the felon and the captive to foreign barra- 
coons ; and they will sentence to domestic servitude the orphans 
of culprits, disorderly children, gamblers, witches, vagrants, 
cripples, insolvents, the deaf, the mute, the barren, and the 
faithless. Five-sixths of the population is in chains.^ 

To facilitate the sale of these various unfortunates or male- 
factors, there exists among the Africans a numerous class of bro- 
kers, who are as skilful in their traffic as the jockeys of civilized 
lands. These adroit scoundrels rove the country in search of 
objects to suit different patrons. They supply the body-guard of 
princes ; procure especial tribes for personal attendants ; furnish 
laborers for farms ; fill the harems of debauchees ; pay or collect 
debts in flesh ; and in cases of emergency take the place of 
bailiffs, to kidnap under the name of sequestration. If a native 
king lacks cloth, arms, powder, balls, tobacco, rum, or salt, and 
does not trade personally with the factories on the beach, he 
employs one of these dexterous gentry to effect the barter; and 
thus both British cotton and Yankee rum ascend the rivers from 
the second hands into which they have passed, while the slave 
approaches the coast to become the ebony basis of a bill of ex- 
change ! 

It has sometimes struck me as odd, how the extremes of so- 
ciety almost meet on similar principles ; and how much some 
African shortcomings resemble the conceded civilizations of other 
lands ! 

1 Dr. Lugenbeel's "Sketches of Libena.": 1853. p. 45, 2d ed. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 129 



CHAPTER XVI. 

The month of November, 1827, brought the wished-for "dry 
season ; " and with it came a message from the leader of a cara- 
van, that, at the full of the moon, he would halt in my village 
with all the produce he could impress. The runner represented 
his master as bearing a missive from his beloved nephew Amah- 
de-Bellah, and declared that he only lingered on the path to swell 
his caravan for the profit of my cofi"ers. 

I did not let the day pass before I sent an interpreter to greet 
my promised guest with suitable presents ; while I took advan- 
tage of his delay to build a neat cottage for his reception, inas- 
much as no Fullah Mahometan will abide beneath the same roof 
with an infidel. I furnished the establishment, according to their 
taste, with green hides and several fresh mats. 

True to his word, Mami-de-Yong made known his arrival in 
my neighborhood on the day when the planet attained its full 
diameter. The moment the pious Mussulman, from the high 
hills in the rear of my settlement, espied the river winding to the 
sea, he turned to the east, and raising his arms to heaven, and 
extending them towards Mecca, gave thanks for his safe arrival 
on the beach. After repeated genuflections, in which the earth 
was touched by his prostrate forehead, he arose, and taking 
the path towards Kambia, struck up a loud chant in honor of 
the prophet, in which he was joined by the interminable pro- 
cession. 

6* 



ISO CAPTAIN canot; or, 

It was quite an imposing sight — this Oriental parade and 
barbaric pomp. My native landlord, proud of the occasion, as 
well as of his Mahometan progenitors, joined in the display. As 
the train approached my establishment, I ordered repeated salutes 
in honor of the stranger, and as I had no minstrels or music to 
welcome the Fullah, I commanded my master of ceremonies to 
conceal the deficiency by plenty of smoke and a dozen more 
rounds of rattling musketry. 

This was the first caravan and the first leader of absolutely 
royal pretensions that visited my settlement ; so I lined my 
piazza with mats, put a body-guard under arms behind me, deco- 
rated the front with fancy flags, and opposite the stool where I 
took my seat, caused a pure white sheepskin of finest wool 
to be spread for the accommodation of the noble savage. Ad- 
vancing to the steps of my dwelling, I stood uncovered as the 
Fullah approached and tendered me a silver-mounted gazelle- 
horn snuff-box — the credential by which Amah-de-Bellah had 
agreed to certify the mission. Receiving the token with a salaam^ 
I carried it reverently to my forehead, and passed it to Ali- 
Ninpha, who, on this occasion, played the part of my scribe. 
The ceremony over, we took him by the hands and led him to 
his allotted sheepskin, while, with a bow, I returned to my stool. 

According to *' country custom," Mami-de-Yong then began 
the dantica^ or exposition of purposes, first of all invoking 
Allah to witness his honor and sincerity. " Not only," said 
the Mussulman, " am I the bearer of a greeting from my dear 
nephew Amah-de-Bellah, but I am an envoy from my royal mas- 
ter the Ali-mami, of Footha-Yallon, who, at his son's desire, has 
sent me with an escort to conduct you on your promised visit to 
Timbo. During your absence, my lord has commanded us to 
dwell in your stead at Kambia, so that your property may be 
safe from the Mulatto Mongo of Bangalang, whose malice 
towards your person has been heard of even among our distant 
hills ! " 

The latter portion of this message somewhat surprised me, 
for though my relations with Mongo John were by no means 
amicable, I did not imagine that the story of our rupture had 
spread so far, or been received with so much sympathy. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 131 

Accordingly, when Mami-de-Yong finished his message, I ap- 
proached him with thanks for his master's interest in my wel- 
fare ; and, placing Amah-de-Bellah's Koran — which I had pre- 
viously wrapped in a white napkin — in his hands, as a token of 
the nephew's friendship, I retired once more to my seat. As 
soon as the holy book appeared from the folds, Mami-de-Yong 
drew a breath of surprise, and striking his breast, fell on his 
knees with his head on the ground, where he remained for seve- 
ral minutes apparently in rapt devotion. • As he rose — his fore- 
head sprinkled with dust, and his eyes sparkling with tears — he 
opened the volume, and pointed out to me and his people his 
own handwriting, which he translated to signify that " Mami-de- 
Yong gave this word of God to Amah-de-Bellah, his kinsman." 
At the reading of the sentence, all the Fullahs shouted, " Glory 
to Allah and Mahomet his Prophet ! " Then, coming forward 
again to the chief, I laid my hand on the Koran, and swore by 
the help of God, to accept the invitation of the great king of 
Footha-Yallon. 

This terminated the ceremonial reception, after which I has- 
tened to conduct Mami-de-Yong to his quarters, where I pre- 
sented him with a sparkling new kettle and an inkstand, letting 
him understand, moreover, I was specially anxious to know that 
all the wants of his attendants in the caravan were completely 
satisfied. 

Next morning early, I remembered the joy of his nephew 
Amah-de-Bellah, when I first treated him to coffee; and deter- 
mined to welcome the chief, as soon as he came forth from his 
ablutions to prayers, with a cup distilled from the fragrant berry. 
I could not have hit upon a luxury more gratifying to the old 
gentleman. Thirty years before had he drank it in Timbuctoo, 
where it is used, he said, by the Moses-people (meaning the He- 
brews), with milk and honey; and its delicous aroma brought the 
well-remembered taste to his lips ere they touched the sable fluid. 

Long before Mami-de-Yong's arrival, his fame as a learned 
" book-man " and extensive traveller preceded him, so that when 
he mentioned his travel to Timbuctoo, I begged him to give me 
some account of that '' capital of capitals," as the Africans call 



132 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

it. The royal messenger promised to comply as soon as he fin- 
ished* the morning lessons of the caravan's children. His quar- 
ters were filled with a dozen or more of young Fullahs and 
Mandingoes squatted around a fire, while the prince sat apart 
in a corner with inkstand, writing reeds, and a pile of old manu- 
scripts. Ali-Ninpha, our backsliding Mahometan, stood by, pre- 
tending devoted attention to Mami's precepts and the Prophet's 
verses. The sinner was a scrupulous follower in the presence of 
the faithful; but when their backs were turned, I know few 
who relished a porker more lusciously, or avoided water with 
more scrupulous care. Yet why should I scofi" at poor Ali ? Jo- 
seph and I had done our best to civilize him ! 

Mami-de-Yong apologized for the completion of his daily task 
in my presence, and went on with his instruction, while the 
pupils wrote down notes, on wooden slabs, with reeds and a fluid 
made of powder dissolved in water. 

I am sorry to say that these Ethiopian Mahometans are but 
poor scholars. Their entire instruction amounts to little more 
than the Koran, and when they happen to write or receive a 
letter, its interpretation is a matter over which many an hour is 
toilsomely spent. Mami-de-Yong, however, was superior to most 
of his countrymen ; and, in fact, I must record him in my nar- 
rative as the most erudite Negro I ever encountered. 



HIS TRIP TO TIMBUCTOO. 

True to his promise, the envoy came to my piazza, as soon as 
school was over, and squatting sociably on our mats and sheep- 
skins, with a plentiful supply of pipes and tobacco, we formed 
as pleasant a little party as was assembled that day on the banks 
of the Rio Pongo. Ali-Ninpha acted as interpreter, having pre- 
pared himself for the long-winded task by a preliminary dram 
from my private locker, out of sight of the noble Mahometan. 

Invoking the Lord's name, — as is usual among Mussulmen, 
- — Mami-de-Yong took a long whiff at his pipe, and, receiving 
from his servant a small bag of fine sand, spread it smoothly 
on the floor, leaving the mass about a quarter of an inch in 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 133 

thickness. This was his black-board, designed to serve for 
the delineation of his journey. On the -westernmost margin of 
his sand, he dotted a point with his finger for the starting at 
Timbo. As he proceeded with his track over Africa towards 
the grand capital, he marked the outlines of the principal terri- 
tories, and spotted the remarkable towns through which he 
passed. By a thick or thin line, he denoted the large rivers and 
small streams that intercepted his path, while he heaved up the 
sand into heaps to represent a mountain, or smoothed it into per- 
fect levels to imitate the broad prairies and savannas of the in- 
terior. When he came to a dense forest, his snuff-box was 
called in requisition, and a pinch or two judiciously sprinkled, 
stood for the monarchs of the wood. 

Like all Oriental story-tellers, Mami proved rather prolix. 
His tale was nearly as long as his travel. He insisted on de- 
scribing his reception at every village. At each river he had his 
story of difficulty and danger in constructing rafts or building 
bridges. He counted the minutes he lost in awaiting the diminu- 
tion of floods. Anon, he would catalogue the various fish with 
which a famous river teemed; and, when he got fairly into the 
woods, there was no end of adventures and hairbreadth escapes 
from alligators, elephants, anacondas, vipers, and the fatal tape 
snake, whose bite is certain death. In the mountains he encoun- 
tered wolves, wild-asses, hyaenas, zebras, and eagles. 

In fact, the whole morning glided away with a geographical, 
zoological, and statistical overture to his tour ; so that, when 
the hour of prayer and ablution arrived, Mami-de-Yong had 
not yet reached Tirabuctoo ! The double rite of cleanliness and 
faith required him to pause in his narrative; and, apologizing 
for the interruption, he left a slave to guard the map while he 
retired to perform his religious services. 

When the noble FuUah got back, I had a nice lunch prepared 
on a napkin in the neighborhood of his diagram, so that he could 
munch his biscuits and sugar without halting on his path. Before 
he began, however, I took the liberty to ofi'er a hint about the 
precious value of time in this brief life of ours, whilst I asked 
a question or two about the " capital of capitals," to indicate 



134 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

my eagerness to enter the walls of Timbuctoo. Mami-de-Yong, 
who was a man of tact as well as humor, smiled at my insinua- 
tion, and apologizing like a Christian for the natural tediousness 
of all old travellers, skipped a degree or two of the wilderness, 
and at once stuck his buffalo-horn snuff-box into the eastern 
margin of the sand, to indicate that he was at his journey's end. 
Mami had visited many of the European colonies and Moor- 
ish kingdoms on the north coast of Africa, so that he enjoyed 
the advantage of comparison, and, of course, was not stupefied 
by the untravelled ignorance of Africans who consider Timbuctoo 
a combination of Paris and paradise. Indeed, he did not pre- 
sume, like most of the Mandingo chiefs, to prefer it to Senegal 
or Sierra Leone. He confessed that the royal palace was nothing 
but a vast inclosure of mud walls, built without taste •f sym- 
metry, within whose labyrinthine mesh there were numerous 
buildings for the wives, children, and kindred of the sovereign. 
If the royal palace of Timbuctoo was of such a character, 
— " What," said he, " were the dwellings of nobles and towns- 
folk ? " The streets were paths; — the stores were shops ; — the 
suburb of an European colony was superior to their best display ! 
The markets of Timbuctoo, alone, secured his admiration. Every 
week they were thronged with traders, dealers, peddlers and 
merchants, who either dwelt in the neighboring kingdoms, or 
came from afar with slaves and produce. Moors and Israelites, 
from the northeast, were the most eminent and opulent mer- 
chants ; and among them he counted a travelling class, crowned 
with peculiar turbans, whom he called " Joseph'speople," or, in 
all likelihood, Armenians. 

The prince had no mercy on the government of this influen- 
tial realm. Strangers, he said, were watched and taxed. In- 
deed, he spoke of it with the peculiar love that we would suppose 
a Hungarian might bear towards Austria, or a Milanese to 
the inquisitorial powers of Lombardy. In fact, I found that, 
despite of its architectural meanness, Timbuctoo was a great 
central mart for exchange, and that commercial men as well as 
the innumerable petty kings, frequented it not only for the 
abundant mineral salt in its vicinity, but because they could ex- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 135 

change their slaves for foreign merchandise. I asked the Ful- 
lah why he preferred the markets of Timbuctoo to the well-stock- 
ed stores of regular European settlements on a coast which was 
reached with so much more ease than this core of Africa? 
" Ah ! " said the astute trafficker, " no market is a good one for 
the genuine African, in which he cannot openly exchange his 
blacks for whatever the original owner or importer can sell with- 
out fear ! Slaves, Don Teodwe, are our money ! " 

The answer solved in my mind one of the political problems 
in the question of African civilization, which I shall probably de- 
velope in the course of this narrative. 



136 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Having completed the mercantile negotiations of the caravan, 
and made my personal arrangements for a protracted absence, I 
put the noble Fullah in charge of my establishment, with special 
charges to my retainers, clerks, runners, and villagers, to regard 
the Marai as my second self I thought it well, moreover, be- 
fore I plunged into the wilderness, — leaving my worldly goods 
and worldly prospects in charge of a Mussulman stranger, — to 
row down to Bangalang for a parting chat with Mongo John, 
in which I might sound the veteran as to his feeling and projects. 
Ormond was in trouble as soon as I appeared. He was willing 
enough that I might perish by treachery on the road side, yet he 
he was extremely reluctant that I should penetrate Africa and 
make alliances which should give me superiority over the mono- 
polists of the beach. I saw these things passing through bis jeal- 
ous heart as we talked together with uncordial civility. At part- 
ing I told the Mongo, for the first time, that I was sure my es- 
tablishment would not go to decay or suffer harm in my absence, 
inasmuch as that powerful Fullah, the Ali-Mami of Footha-Yallon 
had deputed a lieutenant to watch Kamba while I travelled, 
and that he would occupy my village with his chosen warriors. 
The mulatto started with surprise as I finished, and abruptly left 
the apartment in silence. 

I slept well that night, notwithstanding the Mongo's dis- 
pleasure. My confidence in the Fullah was perfect. Stranger 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFEICAN SLAVER. 137 

as he was, I had an instinctive reliance on his protection of my 
home, and his guardianship of my person through the wilder- 
ness. 

At day-dawn I was up. It was a fresh and glorious morning. 
As nature awoke in the woods of that primitive world, the mists 
stole off from the surface of the water ; and, as the first rays 
shot through the glistening dew of the prodigious vegetation, a 
thousand birds sent forth their songs as if to welcome me into 
their realm of unknown paths. 

After a hearty breakfast my Spanish clerk was furnished with 
minute instructions in writing, and, at the last moment, I pre- 
sented the Fullah chief to my people as a temporary master to 
whom they were to pay implicit obedience for his generous 
protection. By ten o'clock, my caravan was in motion. It con- 
sisted of thirty individuals deputed by Amah-de-Bellah, headed 
by one of his relations as captain. Ten of my own servants 
were assigned to carry baggage, merchandise, and provisions; 
while Ali-Niupha, two interpreters, my body servant, a waiter, and 
a hunter, composed my immediate guard. In all, there were 
about forty-five persons. 

When we were starting, Mami-de-Yong approached to " snap 
fingers," and put in my hands a verse of the Koran in his mas- 
ter's handwriting, — " hospitality to the wearied stranger is the 
road to heaven," — which was to serve me as a passport among all 
good Mahometans. If I had time, no doubt I would have 
thought how much more Christian this document was than the 
formal paper with which we are fortified by " foreign ojQSces " 
and " state departments," when we go abroad from civilized 
lands ; — but, before I could summon so much sentiment, the 
Fullah chief stooped to the earth, and filling his hands with dust, 
sprinkled it over our heads, in token of a prosperous journey. 
Then, prostrating himself with his head on the ground, he bade 
us " go our way ! " 

I 'believe I have already said that even the best of African 
roads are no better than goat-paths, and barely sufficient for the 
j)assage of a single traveller. Accordingly, our train marched 
off in single file. Two men, cutlass in hand, armed, besides, with 



138 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

loaded muskets, went in advance not only to scour the way and 
warn us of danger, but to cut the branches and briers that soon 
impede an untravelled path in this prolific land. They marched 
within hail of the caravan, and shouted whenever we approached 
bee-trees, ant-hills, hornet-nests, reptiles, or any of the Ethiopian 
perils that are unheard of in our American forests. Behind 
these pioneers, came the porters with food and luggage ; the cen- 
tre of the caravan was made up of women, children, guards, and 
followers; while the rear was commanded by myself and the 
chiefs, who, whips in hand, found it sometimes beneficial to 
stimulate the steps of stragglers. As we crossed the neighbor- 
ing Soosoo towns, our imposing train was saluted with discharges 
of musketry, while crowds of women and children followed 
their " cw/*?/," or " white-man," to bid him farewell on the border 
of the settlement. 

For a day or two our road passed through a rolling country, 
interspersed with forests, cultivated fields, and African villages, 
in which we were welcomed by the generous chiefs with bugnees^ 
or trifling gifts, in token of amity. Used to the scant exercise 
of a lazy dweller on the coast, whose migrations are confined to 
a journey from his house to the landing, and from the landing to 
his house, it required some time to habituate me once more to 
walking. By degrees, however, I overcame the foot-sore weari- 
ness that wrapped me in perfect lassitude when I sank into my 
hammock on the first night of travel. However, as we became bet- 
ter acquainted with each other and with wood-life, we tripped along 
merrily in the shadowy silence of the forest, — singing, jesting, 
and praising Allah. Even the slaves were relaxed into familiar- 
ity never permitted in the towns ; while masters would sometimes 
be seen relieving the servants by bearing their burdens. At night- 
fall the women brought water, cooked food, and distributed ra- 
tions ; so that, after four days pleasant wayfaring in a gentle 
trot, our dusty caravan halted at sunset before the closed gates 
of a fortified town belonging to Ibrahim Ali, the Mandingo chief 
of Kya. 

It was some time before our shouts and beating on the gates 
aroused the watchman to answer our appeal, for it was the hour 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 139 

of prayer, and Ibrahim was at his devotions. At last, pestered 
by their dalliance, I fired my double-barrelled gun, whose loud 
report I knew was more likely to reach the ear of a praying 
Mussulman. I did not reckon improperly, for hardly had the 
echoes died away before the great war-drum of the town was rat- 
tled, while a voice from a loophole demanded our business. I 
left the negotiation for our entry to the Fullah chief, who forth- 
with answered that " the Ali-Mami'S caravan, laden with goods, 
demanded hospitality ; " while Ali-Ninpha informed the (ques- 
tioner, that Don Teodore, the " white man of Kambia,'" craved 
admittance to the presence of Ibrahim the faithful. 

In a short time the wicket creaked, and Ibrahim himself put 
forth his head to welcome the strangers, and to admit them, one 
by one, into the town. His reception of myself and Ali-Ninpha 
was extremely cordial ; but the Fullah chief was addressed with 
cold formality, for the Mandingoes have but little patience with 
the well-known haughtiness of their national rivals. 

Ali-Ninpha had been Ibrahim's playmate before he migrated 
to the coast. Their friendship still existed in primitive sin- 
cerity, and the chieftain's highest ambition was to honor the 
companion and guest of his friend. Accordingly, his wives and 
females were summoned to prepare my quarters with comfort and 
luxury. The best house was chosen for my lodging. The 
earthen floor was spread with mats. Hides were stretched on 
adobe couches, and a fire was kindled to purify the atmosphere. 
Pipes were furnished my companions ; and, while a hammock 
was slung for my repose before supper, a chosen henchman was 
dispatched to seek the fattest sheep for that important meal. 

Ibrahim posted sentinels around my hut, so that my slum- 
bers were uninterrupted, until Ali-Ninpha roused me with the 
pleasant news that the bowls of rice and stews were smoking on 
the mat in the chamber of Ibrahim himself. Ninpha knew my 
tastes and superintended the cook. He had often jested at the 
" white man's folly," when my stomach turned at some disgust- 
ing dish of the country ; so that the pure roasts and broils of 
well-known pieces slipped down my throat with the appetite of a 
trooper While these messes were under discussion, the savory 



140 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

steam of a rich stew with a creamy sauce saluted my nostrils, 
and, without asking leave, I plunged my spoon into a dish that 
stood before my entertainers, and seemed prepared exclusively 
for themselves. In a moment I was invited to partake of the 
honne-boiichc ; and so delicious did I find it, that, even at this 
distance of time, my mouth waters when I remember the forced- 
meat balls of mutton, minced with roasted ground-nuts, that I 
devoured that night in the Mandingo town of Kya. 

But the best of feasts is dull work without an enlivening 
bowl. Water alone — pure and cool as it was in this hilly region 
— did not quench our thirst. Besides this, I recollected the 
fondness of my landlord, Ali-Ninpha, for strong distillations, and 
I guessed that his playmate might indulge, at least privately, in 
a taste for similar libations. I spoke, therefore, of " cordial bit- 
ters,'' — (a name not unfamiliar even to the most temperate 
Christians, in defence of flatulent stomachs,) — and at the same 
time producing my travelling canteen of Otard's best, applied it 
to the nostrils of the pair. 

I know not how it happened, but before I could warn the 
Mahometans of the risk they incurred, the lips of the bottle slid 
from their noses to their mouths, while upheaved elbows long 
sustained in air, gave notice that the flask was relishing and the 
draft " good for their complaints." Indeed, so appetizing was 
the liquor, that another ground-nut stew was demanded ; and, 
of course, another bottle was required to allay its dyspeptic 
qualities. 

By degrees, the brandy did its work on the worthy Mahom- 
etans. While it restored Ali-Ninpha to his early faith, and 
brought him piously to his knees with prayers to Allah, it had a 
contrary effect on Ibrahim, whom it rendered wild and generous. 
Every thing was mine ; — house, lands, slaves, and children. Ho 
dwelt rapturously on the beauty of his wives, and kissed Ali- 
Ninpha in mistake for one of them. This only rendered the 
apostate more devout than ever, and set him roaring invocations 
like a muezzin from a minaret. In the midst of these orgies, I 
stole off at midnight, and was escorted by my servant to a 
delicious hammock. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 141 

It was day-dawn when the caravan's crier aroused me, as he 
stood on a house-top calling the faithful to prayer previous to 
our departure. Before I could 'stir, Ali-Ninpha, haggard, sick, 
and crest fallen, from his debauch, rolled into my chamber, and 
begged the postponement of our departure, as it was impossible 
for Ibrahim AH to appear, being perfectly vanquished by — " the 
bitters ! " The poor devil hiccoughed between his words, and 
so earnestly and with so many bodily gyrations implored my in- 
terference with the Fullah guide, that I saw at once he was in no 
condition to travel. 

As the caravan was my personal escort and designed exclu- 
sively for my convenience, I did not hesitate to command a halt, 
especially as I was in some measure the cause of my landlord's 
malady. Accordingly, I tied a kerchief round my head, covered 
myself with a cloak, and leaning very lackadaisically on the 
edge of my hammock, sent for the Fullah chief. 

I moaned with pain as he approached, and, declaring that I 
was prostrated by sudden fever, hoped he would indulge me by 
countermanding the order for our march. I do not know 
whether the worthy Mussulman understood my case or believed 
my fever, but the result was precisely the same, for he assented 
to my request like a gentleman, and expressed the deepest sym- 
pathy with my sufferings. His next concern was for my cure. 
True to the superstition and bigotry of his country, the good- 
natured Fullah insisted on taking the management of matters 
into his own hands, and forthwith prescribed a dose from the 
Koran, dilated in water, which he declared was a specific remedy 
for my complaint. I smiled at the idea of making a drug of 
divinity, but as I knew that homoeopathy was harmless under the 
circumstances, I requested the Fullah to prepare his physic on 
the spot. The chief immediately brought his Koran, and turn- 
ing over the leaves attentively for some time, at last hit on the 
appropriate verse, which he wrote down on a board with gun- 
powder ink, which he washed off into a bowl with clean water. This 
was given me to swallow, and the Mahometan left me to the 
operation of his religious charm, with special directions to the 
servant to allow no one to disturb my rest. 



142 

I have no doubt that the Fullah was somewhat of a quiz, 
and thought a chapter in his Bible a capital lesson after a reck- 
less debauch ; so I ordered my door to be barricaded, and slept 
like a dormouse, until Ibrahim and Ali-Ninpha came thundering 
at the portal long after mid-day. They were sadly chopfallen. 
Penitence spoke from their aching brows ; nor do I hesitate to 
believe they were devoutly sincere when they forswore " bitters " 
for the future. In order to allay suspicion, or quiet his con- 
science, the Fullah had been presented with a magnificent ram- 
goat, flanked by baskets of choicest rice. 

When I sallied forth into the town with the suffering sinners, 
I found the sun fast declining in the west, and, although my 
fever had left me, it was altogether too late to depart from the 
village on our journey. I mentioned to Ibrahim a report on the 
coast that his town was bordered by a -sacred spring known as 
the Devil's Fountain, and inquired whether daylight enough 
still remained to allow us a visit. The chief assented ; and as 
in his generous fit last night, he had ofi"ered me a horse, I now 
claimed the gift, and quickly mounted in search of the aqueous 
demon. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 143 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

Ah ! what joy, after so many years, to be once more in the 
saddle in an open country, with a steed of fire and spirit bound- 
ing beneath my exhilarated frame ! It was long before I could 
consent to obey the summons of our guide to follow him on the path. 
When the gates of Kya were behind, and the wider roads opened 
invitingly before me, I could not help giving rein to the mottle- 
some beast, as he dashed across the plain beneath the arching 
branches of magnificent cotton woods. The solitude and the mo- 
tion were both delightful. Never, since I last galloped from the 
paseo to Atares, and from Atares to El Principe, overlooking 
the beautiful bay of Havana, and the distant outline of her 
purple sea, had I felt so gloriously the rush of joyous blood that 
careered through my veins like electric fire. Indeed, I know 
not how long I would have traversed the woods had not the 
path suddenly ended at a town, where my Arabian turned of his 
own accord, and dashed back along the road till I met my won- 
dering companions. 

Having sobered both our bloods, I felt rather better prepared 
for a visit to the Satanic personage who was the object of our 
excursion. About two miles from Kya, we struck the foot of 
a steep hill, some three hundred feet in height, over whose 



1 44 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

shoulder we reached a deep and tangled dell, watered by a slender 
stream which was hemmed in by a profusion of shrubbery. 
Crossing the brook, we ascended the opposite declivity for a short 
distance till we approached a shelving precipice of rock, along 
whose slippery side the ledgelike path continued. I passed it at 
a bound, and instantly stood within the arched aperture of a deep 
cavern, whence a hot and sulphurous stream trickled slowly 
towards the ravine. This was the fountain, and the demon who 
presided over its source dwelt within the cave. 

Whilst I was examining the rocks to ascertain their quality, 
the guide apprised me that the impish proprietor of these waters 
was gifted with a " multitude of tongues," and, in all probability, 
would reply to me in my own, if I thought fit to address him. 
*' Indeed," said the savage, " he will answer you word for word 
and that, too, almost before you can shape your thought in 
lauojuacre. Let us see if he is at home ? " 

I called, in a loud voice, " Kya ! " but as no reply followed, 
I perceived at once the wit of the imposture, and without waiting 
for him to place me, took my own position at a spot inside the 
cavern, where I knew the echoes would be redoubled. " Now," 
said I, '' I know the devil is at home, as well as you do ;" — and, 
telling my people to listen, I bellowed, with all my might — 
" caffra fure ! " '' infernal black one ! " — till the resounding 
rocks roared again with demoniac responses. In a moment the 
cavern was clear of every African ; so that I amused myself 
letting ofi" shrieks, howls, squeals, and pistols, until the afrighted 
natives peeped into the mouth of the cave, thinking the devil in 
reality had come for me in a double-breasted garment of thunder 
and lightning. I came forth, however, with a whole skin and so 
hearty a laugh, that the Africans seized my hands in token of 
congratulation, and looked at me with wonderment, as some- 
thing greater than the devil himself. Without waiting for a 
commentary, I leaped on my Arab and darted down the hill. 

" And so," said I, when I got back to Kya, " dost thou in 
truth believe, beloved Ibrahim, that the devil dwells in those 
rocks of the sulphur stream? " 

" Why not, brother Theodore ? Isn't the water poison ? If you 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 145 

drink, will it not physic you ? "When animals lick it in the dry 
season, do they not die on the margin by scores ? Now, a 'book- 
man ' like you, my brother, knows well enough that water alone 
can't kill ; so that whenever it does, the devil must be in it ; 
and, moreover, is it not he who speaks in the cavern ? " 

" Good,'- replied I ; " but, pry'thee, dear Ibrahim, read me 
this riddle : if the devil gets into water and kills, why don't he 
kill when he gets into ' hitters ? ' " 

" Ah ! " said the Ali — " you white men are infidels and scof- 
fers ! " as he laughed like a rollicking trooper, and led me, with 
his arm round my neck, into supper. " And yet, Don Teodore, 
don't forget the portable imp that you carry in that Yankee 
flask in your pocket ! " 

We did not dispute the matter further. I had been long 
enough in Africa to find out that white men made themselves odious 
to the natives and created bitter enemies, by despising or ridicul- 
ing their errors ; and as I was not abroad on a mission of civiliza- 
tion, I left matters just as I found them. When I was among 
the Mahometans, I was an excellent Mussulman, while, among 
the heathen, I affected considerable respect for their jujus^ 
gree grees^ feitiches, snakes^ iguanas, alligators^ and wooden 
images. 

Ere we set forth next morning, my noble host caused a gene- 
rous meal to be dispensed among the caravan. The breakfast 
consisted of boiled rice dried in the sun, and then boiled again 
with milk or water after being pounded finely in a mortar. This 
nutritive dish was liberally served ; and, as a new Mongo, I was 
tendered an especial platter, flanked by copious bowls of cream 
and honey. 

It is true Mandingo etiquette, at the departure of an honored 
friend, for the Lord of the Town to escort him on his way to 
the first brook, drink of the water with the wayfarer, toast a 
prompt return, invoke Allah for a prosperous voyage, shake 
hands, and snap fingers, in token of friendly adieu. The host 
who tarries then takes post in the path, and, fixing his eyes on 
the departing guest, never stirs till the traveller is lost in the 
folds of the forest, or sinks behind the distant horizon. 
7 



146 



OR, 



Such was the conduct of my friend Ibrahim on this occasion ; 
nor was it all. It is a singular habit of these benighted peo- 
ple, to keep their word whenever they make a promise ! I dare 
say it is one of the marks of their faint civilization ; yet I am 
forced to record it as a striking fact. When I sallied forth from 
the gate of the town, I noticed a slave holding the horse I rode 
the day before to the Devil's fountain, ready caprisoned and 
groomed as for a journey. Being accompanied by Ibrahim on 
foot, I supposed the animal was designed for his return after our 
complimentary adieus. But when we had passed at least a mile 
beyond the parting brook, I again encountered the beast, whose 
leader approached Ali-Ninpha announcing, the horse as a gift 
from his master to help me on my way. Ere I backed the 
blooded animal, an order was directed to my clerk at Kambia for 
two muskets, two kegs of powder, two pieces of blue cotton, and 
one hundred pounds of tobacco. I advised my official, moreover, 
to inclose in the core of the tobacco the stoutest flask he could 
find of our fourth proof " bitters 1 " 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 147 



CHAPTER XIX. 

The day was cloudy, but our trotting caravan did not exceed 
twenty miles in travel. In Africa things are done leisurely, for 
neither life, speculation, nor ambition is so exciting or exacting 
as to make any one in a hurry. I do not recollect to have ever 
seen an individual in haste while I dwelt in the torrid clime. 
The shortest existence is long enough, when it is made up of 
sleep, slave-trade, and mastication. 

At sunset no town was in sight ; so it was resolved to 
bivouac in the forest on the margin of a beautiful brook, where 
rice, tea, and beef, were speedily boiled and smoking on the mats. 
When I was about to stretch my weary limbs for the night 
on the ground, my boy gave me another instance of Ibrahim's 
true and heedful hospitality, by producing a grass hammock he 
had secretly ordered to be packed among my baggage. With a 
hammock and a horse I was on velvet in the forest ! 

Delicious sleep curtained my swinging couch between two 
splendid cotton- woods until midnight, when the arm of our 
Fullah chief was suddenly laid on my shoulder with a whispered 
call to prepare for defence or flight. As I leaped to the ground 
the caravan was already afoot, though the profoundest silence 
prevailed throughout the wary crowd. The watch announced 
strangers in our neighborhood, and two guides had been des- 



148 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

patched immediately to reconnoitre the forest. This was all the 
information they could give me. 

The native party was fully prepared and alert with spears, 
lances, bows and arrows. I commanded my own men to re- 
prime their muskets, pistols, and rifles ; so that, when the guides 
returned with a report that the intruders were supposed to 
form a party of fugitive slaves, we were ready for our customers. 

Their capture was promptly determined. Some proposed 
we should delay till daylight ; but Ali-Ninpha, who was a 
sagacious old fighter, thought it best to complete the enterprise 
by night, especially as the savages kept up a smouldering fire in 
the midst of their sleeping group, which would serve to guide us. 

Our little band was immediately divided into two squads, one 
under the lead of the FuUah, and the other commanded by Ali- 
Ninpha. The Fullah was directed to make a circuit until he got 
in the rear of the slaves, while Ali-Ninpha, at a concerted signal, 
began to advance towards them from our camp. Half an hour 
probably elapsed before a faint call, like the cry of a child, was 
heard in the distant forest, upon which the squad of my landlord 
fell on all-fours, and crawled cautiously, like cats, through the 
short grass and brushwood, in the direction of the sound. The 
sleepers were quickly surrounded. The Mandingo gave the sig- 
nal as soon as the ends of the two parties met and completed 
the circle ; and^ in an instant, every one of the runaways, except 
two, was in the grasp of a warrior, with a cord around his throat. 
Fourteen captives were brought into camp. The eldest of the 
party alleged that they belonged to the chief of Tamisso, a town 
on our path to Timbo, and were bound to the coast for sale. On 
their way to the foreign factories, which they were exceedingly 
anxious to reach, their owner died, so that they came under the 
control of his brother, who threatened to change their destina- 
tion, and sell them in the interior. In consequence of this they 
fled ; and, as their master would surely slay them if restored to 
Tamisso, they besought us with tears not to take them thither. 

Another council was called, for we were touched by the 
earnest manner of the negroes. Ali-Ninpha and the Fullah were 
of opinion that the spoil was fairly ours, and should be divided 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 149 

in proportion to the men in both parties. Yet, as our road 
passed by the objectionable town, it was impossible to carry the 
slaves along, either in justice to ourselves or them. In this 
strait, which puzzled the Africans sorely, I came to their relief, 
by suggesting their dispatch to my factory with orders for the 
payment of their value in merchandise. 

The proposal was quickly assented to as the most feasible, 
and our fourteen captives were at once divided into two gangs, of 
seven eTach. Hoops of bamboo were soon clasped round their 
waists, while their hands were tied by stout ropes to the hoops. 
A long tether was then passed with a slip-knot through each 
rattan belt, so that the slaves were firmly secured to each 
other, while a small coil was employed to link them more securely 
in a band by their necks. These extreme precautions were 
needed, because we dared not diminish our party to guard the 
gang. Indeed, Ali-Ninpha was -only allowed the two interpreters 
and four of my armed people as his escort to Kya, where, it was 
agreed, he should deliver the captives to Ibrahim, to be for- 
warded to my factory, while he hastened to rejoin us at the river 
Sanghu, where we designed tarrying. 

For three days we journeyed through the forest, passing 
occasionally along the beds of dried-up streams and across lonely 
tracts of wood which seemed never to have been penetrated, 
save by the solitary path we were treading. As we were anxious 
to be speedily reunited with our companions, our steps were not 
hastened ; so that, at the end of the third day, we had not 
advanced more than thirty miles from the scene of capture, 
when we reached a small Mandingo village, recently built by an 
upstart trader, who, with the common envy and pride of his 
tribe, gave our Fullah caravan a frigid reception. A single hut 
was assigned to the chief and myself for a dwelling, and the 
rage of the Mahometan may readily be estimated by an insult 
that would doom him to sleep beneath the same roof with a 
Christian ! 

I endeavored to avert an outburst by apprising the Mandingo 
that I was a bosom friend of Ali-Ninpha, his countryman and 
superior, and begged that he would sufi"er the " head man " of 



150 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

our caravan to dwell in a house alone. But the impudent 
parvenu sneered at my advice ; " he knew no such person as 
Ali-Ninpha, and cared not a snap of his finger for a FuUah chief, 
or a beggarly white man ! " 

My body servant was standing by when this tart reply fell 
from the Mandingo's lips, and, before I could stop the impetuous 
youth, he answered the trader with as gross an insult as an 
African can utter. To this the Mandingo replied by a blow over 
the boy's shoulders with the flat of a cutlass ; and, in a' twink- 
ling, there was a general shout for " rescue " from all my party 
who happened to witness the scene. Fullahs, Mandingoes, and 
Soosoos dashed to the spot, with spears, guns, and arrows. The 
Fullah chief seized my double-barrelled gun and followed the 
crowd ; and when he reached the spot, seeing the trader still 
waving his cutlass in a menacing manner, he pulled both triggers 
at the inhospitable savage. Fortunately, however, it was always 
my custom on arriving m friendly towns, to remove the copper 
caps from my weapons, so that, when the hammers fell, the gun 
was silent. Before the Fullah could club the instrument and 
prostrate the insulter, I rushed between them to prevent 
murder. This I was happy enough to succeed in ; but I 
could not deter the rival tribe from binding the brute, hand 
and foot, to a post in the centre of his town, while the majority 
of our caravan cleared the settlement at once of its fifty or sixty 
inhabitants. 

Of course, we appropriated the dwellings as we pleased, and 
supplied ourselves with provisions. Moreover, it was thought 
preferable to wait in this village for Ali-Ninpha, than to proceed 
onwards towards the borders of the Sanghu. When he arrived, 
on the second day after the sad occurrence, he did not hesitate 
to exercise the prerogative of judgment and condemnation always 
claimed by superior chiefs over inferiors, whenever they consider 
themselves slighted or wronged. The process in this case was 
calmly and humanely formed. A regular trial was allowed the 
culprit. He was arraigned on three charges: — 1. Want of hos- 
pitality ; 2. Cursing and maltreating a Fullah chief and a white 
Mongo ; 3. Disrespect to the name and authority of his country- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 151 

man and superior, Ali Ninpha. On all these articles the prisoner 
was found guilty ; but, as there were neither slaves nor personal 
property by which the ruffian could be mulcted for his crimes, 
the tribunal adjudged him to be scourged with fifty lashes, and 
to have his " town-fence or stockade destroyed, never to be 
rebuilt." The blows were inflicted for the abuse, but the per- 
petual demolition of his defensive barrier was in punishment for 
refused hospitality. Such is the summary process by which 
social virtues are inculcated and enforced among these interior 
tribes of Africa ! 



It required three days for our refreshed caravan to reach the 
dry and precipitous bed of the Sanghu, which I found impossible 
to pass with my horse, in consequence of jagged rocks and im- 
mense boulders that covered its channel. But the men were 
resolved that my convenient animal should not be left behind. 
Accordingly, all hands went to work with alacrity on the trees, 
and in a day, they bridged the ravine with logs bound together 
by ropes made from twisted bark. Across this frail and sway- 
ing fabric I urged the horse with difficulty ; but hardly had he 
reached the opposite bank, and recovered from his nervous 
tremor, when I was surprised by an evident anxiety in the beast 
to return to his swinging pathway. The guides declared it to be 
an instinctive warning of danger from wild beasts with which the 
region is filled ; and, even while we spoke, two of the scouts who 
were in advance selecting ground for our camp, returned with the 
carcasses of a deer and leopard. Though meat had not passed 
our lips for five days, we were in no danger of starvation ; the 
villages teemed with fruits and vegetables. Pineapples, bana- 
nas, and a pulpy globe resembling the peach in form and flavor, 
quenched our thirst and satisfied our hunger. 

Besides these, our greedy natives foraged in the wilderness 
for nourishment unknown, or at least unused, by civilized folk&. 
They found comfort in barks of various trees, as well as in buds, 
berries, and roots, some of which they devoured raw, while 
others were either boiled or made into palatable decoctions with 



152 CAPTAIN CANOT j OR, 

■water that gurgled from every hill. The broad valleys and open 
country supplied animal and vegetable " delicacies " which a 
white man would pass unnoticed. Many a time, when I was as 
hungry as a wolf, I found my vagabonds in a nook of the woods, 
luxuriating over a moss with the unctuous lips of aldermen ; 
but when I came to analyze the stew, I generally found it to 
consist of a " witch's cauldron," copiously filled with snails, 
lizards, iguanas, frogs and alligators ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 153 



CHAPTER XX. 

A JOURNEY to the interior of Africa would be a rural jaunt, were 
it not so often endangered by the perils of war. The African 
may fairly be characterized as a shepherd, whose pastoral life is 
varied by a little agriculture, and the conflicts into which he is 
seduced, either by family quarrels, or the natural passions of his 
blood. His country, though uncivilized, is not so absolutely 
wild as is generally supposed. The gradual extension of Ma- 
hometanism throughout the interior is slowly but evidently modi- 
fying the Negro. An African Mussulman is still a warrior, 
for the dissemination of faith as well as for the gratification of 
avarice ; yet the Prophet's laws are so much more genial than 
the precepts of paganism, that, within the last half century, the 
humanizing influence of the Koran is acknowledged by all who 
are acquainted with the interior tribes. 

But in all the changes that may come over the spirit of man 
in Africa, her magnificent external natvre will for ever remain 
the same. A little labor teems with vast returns. The climate 
exacts nothing but shade from the sun and shelter from the 
storm. Its oppressive heat forbids a toilsome industry, and 
almost enforces indolence as a law. With every want supplied, 
without the allurements of social rivalry, without the temptations 
of national ambition or personal pride, what has the African to 
do in his forest of palm and cocoa, — his grove of orange, pome- 
7* 



154 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

granate and fig, — on his mat of comfortable repose, where the 
fruit stoops to his lips without a struggle for the prize, — save to 
brood over, or gratify, the electric passions with which his soul 
seems charged to bursting ! 

It is an interesting task to travel through a continent filled 
with such people, whose minds are just beginning, here and there, 
to emerge from the vilest heathenism, and to glimmer with a 
faith that bears wrapped in its unfolded leaves, the seeds of a 
modified civilization. 

As I travelled in the " dry season," I did not encounter 
many of the discomforts that beset the African wayfarer in 
periods of rain and tempest. I was not obliged to flounder 
through lagoons, or swim against the current of perilous rivers. 
We met their traces almost every day ; and, in many places, the 
soil was worn into parched ravines or the tracks of dried-up 
torrents. Whatever affliction I experienced arose from the 
wasting depression of heat. We did not suffer from lack of water 
or food, for the caravan of the Ali-Mami commanded implicit 
obedience throughout our journey. 

In the six hundred miles I traversed, whilst absent from the 
coast, my memory, after twenty-six years, leads me, from begin- 
ning to end, through an almost continuous forest-path. We 
struck a trail when we started, and we left it when we came home. 
It was rare, indeed, to encounter a cross road, except when it 
led to neighboring villages, water, or cultivated fields. So dense 
was the forest foliage, that we often walked for hours in shade 
without a glimpse of the sun. The emerald light that penetrated 
the wood, bathed every thing it touched with mellow refresh- 
ment. But we were repaid for this partial bliss by intense suf- 
fering when we came forth from the sanctuary into the bare 
valleys, the arid barrancas, and marshy savannas of an open 
region. There, the red eye of the African sun glared with 
merciless fervor. Every thing reflected its rays. They struck 
us like lances from above, from below, from the sides, from the 
rocks, from the fields, from the stunted herbage, from the bushes. 
All was glare ! Our eyes seemed to simmer in their sockets. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 155 

Whenever the path followed the channel of a brook, whose dried 
torrents left bare the scorched and broken rocks, our feet fled 
from the ravine as from heated iron. Frequently we entered 
extensive prairies^ covered with blades of sword-grass, tall as 
our heads, whose jagged edges tore us like saws, though we pro- 
tected our faces with masks of wattled willows. And yet, after 
all these discomforts, how often are my dreams haunted by charm- 
ing pictures of natural scenery that have fastened themselves for 
ever in my memory ! 

As the traveller along the coast turns the prow of his canoe 
through the surf, and crosses the angry bar that guards the 
mouth of an African river, he suddenly finds himself moving 
calmly onward between sedgy shores, buried in mangroves. Pre- 
sently, the scene expands in the unruffled mirror of a deep, majes- 
tic stream. Its lofty banks are covered by innumerable varieties 
of the tallest forest trees, from whose summits a trailing net- 
work of vines and flowers floats down and sweeps the passing 
current. A stranger who beholds this scenery for the first time 
is struck by the immense size, the prolific abundance, and gor- 
geous verdure of every thing. Leaves, large enough for gar- 
ments, lie piled and motionless in the lazy air. The bamboo and 
cane shake their slender spears and pennant leaves as the stream 
ripples among their roots. Beneath the massive trunks of forest 
trees, the country opens ; and, in vistas through the wood, the 
traveller sees innumerable fields lying fallow in grass, or waving 
with harvests of rice and cassava, broken by golden clusters of 
Indian corn. Anon, groups of oranges, lemons, coffee-trees, 
plantains and bananas, are crossed by the tall stems of cocoas, 
and arched by the broad and drooping coronals of royal palm. 
Beyond this, capping the summit of a hill, may be seen the coni- 
cal huts of natives, bordered by fresh pastures dotted with 
flocks of sheep and goats, or covered by numbers of the sleekest 
cattle. As you leave the coast, and shoot round the river- 
curves of this fragrant wilderness teeming with flowers, vocal 
with birds, and gay with their radiant plumage, you plunge into 
the interior, where the rising country slowly expands into hills 
and mountains. 



156 

The forest is varied. Sometimes it is a matted pile of tree, 
vine, and bramble, obscuring every thing, and impervious save 
with knife and hatchet. At others, it is a Gothic temple. The 
sward spreads openly for miles on every side, while, from its even 
surface, the trunks of straight and massive trees rise to a prodi- 
gious height, clear from every obstruction, till their gigantic 
limbs, like the capitals of columns, mingle their foliage in a roof 
of perpetual verdure. 

At length the hills are reached, and the lowland heat is tem- 
pered by mountain freshness. The scene that may be beheld 
from almost any elevation, is always beautiful, and sometimes 
grand. Forest, of course, prevails ; yet, with a glass, and often 
by the unaided eye, gentle hills, swelling from the wooded land- 
scape, may be seen covered with native huts, whose neighbor- 
hood is checkered with patches of sward and cultivation, and 
inclosed by massive belts of primeval wildness. Such is com- 
monly the westward view ; but north and east, as far as vision 
extends, noble outlines of hill and mountain may be traced against 
the sky, lapping each other with their mighty folds, until they 
fade away in the azure horizon. 

When a view like this is beheld at morning, in the neighbor- 
hood of rivers, a dense mist will be observed lying beneath the 
spectator in a solid stratum, refracting the light now breaking 
from the east. Here and there, in this lake of vapor, the tops 
of hills peer up like green islands in a golden sea. But, ere you 
have time to let fancy run riot, the " cloud compelling " orb lifts 
its disc over the mountains, and the fogs of the valley, like ghosts 
at cock-crow, flit fropa the dells they have haunted since night- 
fall. Presently, the sun is out in his terrible splendor. Africa 
unveils to her master, and the blue sky and green forest blaze 
and quiver with his beams. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 157 



CHAPTEK XXI. 

I FELT SO mucli the lack of scenery in my narrative, that I 
thought it well to group in a few pages the African pictures I 
have given in the last chapter. My story had too much of the 
bareness of the Greek stage, and I was conscious that landscape, 
as well as action, was required to mellow the subject and relieve 
it from tedium. After our dash through the wilderness, let us 
return to the slow toil of the caravan. 

Four days brought us to Tamisso from our last halt. "VVe 
camped on the copious brook that ran near the town-walls, and 
while Ali-Ninpha thought proper to compliment the chief, Mo- 
hamedoo, by a formal announcement of our arrival, the caravan 
made ready for reception by copious, but needed^ ablutions of 
flesh and raiment. The women, especially, were careful in adorn- 
ing and heightening their charms. Wool was combed to its 
utmost rigidity ; skins were greased till they shone like polished 
ebony ; ankles and arms were restrung with beads ; and loins 
were girded with snowy waistcloths. Ali-Ninpha knew the pride 
of his old Mandingo companions, and was satisfied that Moha- 
medoo would have been mortified had we surprised him within 
the precincts of his court, squatted, perhaps, on a dirty mat with 
a female scratching his head ! Ali-Ninpha was a prudent gen- 
tleman, and knew the difi"erence between the private and public 
lives of his illustrious countrymen ! 



158 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

In the afternoon our interpreters returned to camp with Mo- 
hamedoo's son, accompanied by a dozen women carrying platters 
of boiled rice, calabashes filled with delicate sauce, and abundance 
of ture^ or vegetable butter. A beautiful horse was also de- 
spatched for my triumphal entry into town. 

The food was swallowed with an appetite corresponding to 
our recent penitential fare ; the tents were struck ; and the cara- 
van was forthwith advanced towards Tamisso. All the noise we 
could conveniently make, by way of music^ was, of course, duly 
attempted. Interpreters and guides went ahead, discharging 
guns. Half a dozen tom-toms were struck with uncommon 
rapidity and vigor, while the unctuous women set up a chorus of 
melody that would not have disgraced a band of " Ethiopian 
Minstrels." 

Half-way to the town our turbulent mob was met by a troop 
of musicians sent out by the chief to greet us with song and harp. 
I was quickly surrounded by the singers, who chanted the most 
fulsome praise of the opulent Mongo, while a court-fool or buf- 
foon insisted on leading my horse, and occasionally wiping my 
face with his filthy handkerchief! 

Presently we reached the gates, thronged by pressing crowds 
of curious burghers. Men, women, and children, had all come 
abroad to see the immense Furtoo^ or white man, and appeared 
as much charmed by the spectacle as if I had been a banished 
patriot. I was forced to dismount at the low wicket, but here 
the empressement of my inquisitive hosts became so great, that 
the " nation's guest " was forced to pause until some amiable 
bailifi's modified the amazement of their fellow-citizens by staves 
and whips. 

I lost no time in the lull, while relieved from the mob, to 
pass onward to " the palace " of Mohamedoo, which, like all 
royal residences in Africa, consisted of a mud-walled quadran- 
gular inclosure, with ,a small gate, a large court, and a quantity 
of adobe huts, surrounded by shady verandahs. The furniture, 
mats, and couches were of cane, while wooden platters, brass ket- 
tles, and common wash-basins, were spread out in every direction 
for show and service. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 159 

On a couch, covered with several splendid leopard skins, re- 
clined Mohamedoo, awaiting my arrival with as much statelinesS 
as if he had been a scion of civilized royalty. The chief was a 
man of sixty at least. His corpulent body was covered with 
short Turkish trousers, and a large Mandingo shirt profusely 
embroidered with red and yellow worsted. His bald or shaved 
head was concealed by a light turban, while a long white beard 
stood out in relief against his tawny skin, and hung down upon 
his breast. j^li-Ninpha presented me formally to this personage, 
who got up, shook hands, " snapped fingers," and welcomed me 
thrice. My FuUah chief and Mandingo companion then pro- 
ceeded to " make their clantica^^'^ or declare the purpose of 
their visit ; but when they announced that I was the guest of 
the Fullah Ali-Mami, and, accordingly, was entitled to free pas- 
sage every where without expense, I saw that the countenance 
of the veteran instantly fell, and that his welcome was dashed by 
the loss of a heavy duty which he designed exacting for my 
transit. 

The sharp eye of Ali-Ninpha was not slow in detecting Mo- 
hamedoo's displeasure ; and, as I had previously prepared him 
in private, he took an early opportunity to whisper in the old 
man's ear, that Don Teodore knew he was compelled to jour- 
ney through Tamisso, and, of course, had not come empty-handed. 
My object, he said, in visiting this region and the territory of 
the Fullah king, was not idle curiosity alone ; but that I was 
prompted by a desire for liberal trade, and especially for the 
purchase of slaves to load the numerous vessels I had lingering 
on the coast, with immense cargoes of cloth, muskets, and pow- 
der. 

The clouds were dispersed as soon as a hint was thrown out 
about traffic. The old sinner nodded like a mandarin who knew 
what he was about, and, rising as soon as the adroit whisperer 
had finished, took me by the hand, and in a loud voice, presented 
me to the people as his " beloved son ! " Besides this, the best 
house within the royal inclosure was fitted with fresh comforts 
for my lodging. When the Fullah chief withdrew from the 
audience, Ali-Ninpha brought in the mistress of Mohamedoo's 



160 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

harem, who acted as his confidential clerk, and we speedily 
handed over the six pieces of cotton and an abundant supply of 
tobacco with which I designed to propitiate her lord and master. 

Tired of the dust, crowd, heat, confinement and curiosity of 
an African town, I was glad to gulp down my supper of broiled 
chickens and milk, preparatory to a sleepy attack on my couch 
of rushes spread with mats and skins. Yet, before retiring for 
the night, I thought it well to refresh my jaded frame by a bath, 
■which the prince had ordered to be prepared in a small court 
behind my chamber. But I grieve to say, that my modesty was 
put to a sore trial, when I began to unrobe. Locks and latches 
are unknown in this free-and-easy region. It had been noised 
abroad among the dames of the harem, that the Furtoo would 
probably perform his ablutions before he slept ; so that, when I 
entered the yard, my tub was surrounded by as many inquisitive 
eyes as the dinner table of Louis the Fourteenth, when sove- 
reigns dined in public. As I could not speak their language, I 
made all the pantomimic signs of graceful supplication that com- 
monly soften the hearts of the sex on the stage, hoping, by dumb 
show, to secure my privacy. But gestures and grimace were 
unavailing. I then made bold to take oflf my shirt, leaving my 
nether garments untouched. Hitherto, the dames had seen only 
my bronzed face and hands, but when the snowy pallor of my 
breast and back was unveiled, many of them fled incontinently, 
shouting to their friends to " come and see the peeled Furtoo ! " 
An ancient crone, the eldest of the crew, ran her hand roughly 
across the fairest portion of my bosom, and looking at her fin- 
gers with disgust, as if I reeked with leprosy, wiped them on 
the wall. As displeasure seemed to predominate over admira- 
tion, I hoped this experiment would have satisfied the inquest, 
but, as black curiosity exceeds all others, the wenches continued 
to linger, chatter, grin and feel, until I was forced to disappoint 
their anxiety for further disclosures, by an abrupt '' good-night." 

We tarried in Tamisso three days to recruit, durmg which I 
was liberally entertained oa the prince's hospitable mat, where 
African stews of relishing flavor, and tender fowls smothered in 
snowy rice, regaled me at least twice in every twenty-four hours. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 161 

Mohamedoo fed me with an European silver spoon, which, he 
said, came from among the effects of a traveller who, many years 
before, died far in the interior. In all his life, he had seen but 
four of our race within the walls of Tamisso. Their names 
escaped his memory ; but the last, he declared, was a poor and 
clever youth, probably from Senegal, who followed a powerful 
caravan, and " read the Koran like a mufti.'''' 

Tamisso was entirely surrounded by a tall double fence 
of pointed posts. The space betwixt the inclosures, which were 
about seven feet apart, was thickly planted with smaller spear- 
headed staves, hardened by fire. If the first fence was leaped by 
assailants, they met a cruel reception from those impaling senti- 
nels. Three gates afforded admission to different sections of the 
town, but the passage through them consisted of zig-zags, with 
loopholes cut judiciously in the angles, so as to command every 
point of access to the narrow streets of the suburbs. 

The parting between Mohamedoo and myself was friendly in 
the extreme. Provisions for four days were distributed by the 
prince to the caravan, and he promised that my return should be 
welcomed by an abundant supply of slaves. 



162 



GHAPTEK XXII. 

As our caravan approached the Fullah country, and got into the 
higher lands, where the air was invigorating, I found its pace 
improved so much that we often exceeded twenty miles in our 
daily journey. The next important place we were to approach 
was Jallica. For three days, our path coasted the southern 
edge of a mountain range, whose declivities and valleys were 
filled with rivers, brooks, and streamlets, afi"ording abundant 
irrigation to fields teeming with vegetable wealth. The popu- 
lation was dense. Frequent caravans, with cattle and slaves, 
passed us on their way to various marts. Our supplies of food 
were plentiful. A leaf of tobacco purchased a fowl ; a charge 
of powder obtained a basin of milk, or a dozen of eggs ; and a 
large sheep cost only six cents, or a quart of salt. 

Five days after quitting Tamisso, our approach to Jallica 
was announced ; and here, as at our last resting place, it was 
deemed proper to halt half a day for notice and ablution before 
entering a city, whose chief — Suphiana — was a kinsman of Ali- 
Ninpha. 

The distance from our encampment to the town was about 
three miles ; but an hour had hardly elapsed after our arrival, 
when the deep boom of the war-drum gave token that our mes- 
sage had been received with welcome. I was prepared, in some 
measure, for a display of no ordinary character at Jallica, because 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 163 

my Mandingo friend, Ali-Ninpha, inhabited the town in his 
youth, and had occupied a position which gave importance to his 
name throughout Soolimana. The worthy fellow had been ab- 
sent many years from Jallica, and wept like a child when he 
heard the sound of the war-drum. Its discordant beat had the 
same effect on the savage that the sound of their village bells 
has on the spirit of returning wanderers in civilized lands. 
When the rattle of the drum was over, he told me that for five 
years he controlled that very instrument in Jallica, during which 
it had never sounded a retreat or betokened disaster. In peace 
it was never touched, save for public rejoicing ; and the authori- 
ties allowed it to be beaten now only because an old commander 
of the tribe was to be received with the honors due to his rank 
and service. Whilst we were still conversing, Suphiana's lance- 
bearer made his appearance, and, with a profound salaam, an- 
nounced that the " gates of Jallica were open to the Mandingo 
and his companions," 

^ofanda or refreshments were sent with the welcome ; but 
when the caravan got within fifty yards of the walls, a band of 
shouting warriors marched forth, and lifting Ali-Ninpha on their 
shoulders, bore him through the gates, singing war-songs, accom- 
panied by all sorts of music and hubbub. 

I had purposely lingered with my men in the rear of the 
great body of Africans, so that nearly the whole caravan passed 
the portal before my complexion — though deeply bronzed by ex- 
posure — made me known to the crowd as a white man. 

Then, instantly, the air rang with the sound of — " Furtoo ! 
Furtoo ! Furtoo ! " — and the gate was slammed in our faces, 
leaving us completely excluded from guide and companions. 
But, in the midst of his exultant reception, Ali-Ninpha did not 
forget the Mongo of Kambia. Hardly had he attained the end 
of the street, when he heard the cry of exclusion, and observed 
the closing portal. By this time, my Fullah friend had wrought 
himself into an examplary fit of Oriental rage with the inhos- 
pitable Mandingoes, so that I doubt very much whether he 
would not have knocked the dust from his sandals on the gate of 
Jallica, had not Ali-Ninpha rushed through the wicket, and 



164 

commanding the portal to be reopened, apologized contritely to 
the Mahometan and myself. 

This unfortunate mistake, or accident, not only caused con- 
siderable delay, but rather dampened the delight of our party 
as it defiled in the spacious square of Jallica, and entered the 
open shed which was called a '''■ palaver -house.'''' Its vast area 
was densely packed with a fragrant crowd of old and young, 
armed with muskets or spears. All wore knives or cutlasses, 
slung by a belt high up on their necks ; while, in their midst sur- 
rounded by a court of veterans, stood Suphiana, the prince, wait- 
ing our arrival. 

In front marched Ali-Ninpha, preceded by a numerous band 
of shrieking and twanging minstrels. As he entered the apart- 
ment, Suphiana arose, drew his sword, and embracing the stran- 
ger with his left arm, waved the shining blade over his head, 
with the other. This peculiar accolade was imitated by each 
member of the royal council ; while, in the centre of the square, 
the war-drum, — a hollowed tree, four feet in diameter, covered 
with hides, — was beaten by two savages with slung-shot, until its 
thundering reverberations completely deafened us. 

You may imagine my joy and comfort when I saw the Man- 
dingo take a seat near the prince, as a signal for the din's cessa- 
tion. This, however, was only the commencement of another 
prolonged ceremonial ; for now began the royal review and salute 
in honor of the returned commander. During two hours, an un 
interrupted procession of all the warriors, chiefs, and head-men 
of Jallica, defiled in front of the ancient drum-major ; and, as 
each approached, he made his obeisance by pointing a spear or 
weapon at my landlord's feet. During this I remained on horse- 
back without notice or relief from the authorities. Ali-Ninpha, 
however, saw my impatient discomfort, and once or twice de- 
spatched a sly message to preserve my good humor. The cere- 
mony was one of absolute compulsion, and could not be avoided 
without discourtesy to the prince and his countrymen. As soon 
as he could escape, however, he hastened over the court-yard to 
assist me in dismounting ; and dashing the rude crowd right and 
left, led me to his kinsman Suphiana. The prince extended his 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 165 

royal hand in token of amity ; Ali-Ninpha declared me to be 
his '' son ; " while the long string of compliments and panegyrics 
he pronounced upon my personal qualities, moral virtues, and 
wealth, brought down a roar of grunts by way of applause from 
the toad-eating courtiers. 

Jallica was a fairer town than any I had hitherto encounter- 
ed in my travels. Its streets were wider, its houses better, its 
people more civil. No one intruded on the friend of Ali-Ninpha, 
and guest of Suphiana. I bathed without visits from inquisitive 
females. My house was my castle ; and, when I stirred abroad, 
two men preceded me with rattans to keep my path clear from 
women and children. 

After lounging about quietly for a couple of days, wearing 
away fatigue, and getting rid of the stains of travel, I thought 
it advisable to drop in one morning, unannounced, after break- 
fast, at Suphiaua's with the presents that are customary in the 
east. As the guest, — during my whole journey, — of the Ali- 
Mami, or King of Foota-Yallon, I was entirely exempt by cus- 
tomary law from this species of tax, nor would my Fullah pro- 
tector have allowed me to offer a tribute had he known it ; — yet, 
I always took a secret opportunity to present a voluntary giftj 
for I wished my memory to smell sweet along my track in Africa. 
Suphiana fully appreciated my generosity under the circum- 
stances, and returned the civility by an invitation to dinner 
at the house of his principal wife. When the savory feast 
with which he regaled me was over, female singers were intro- 
duced for a concert. Their harps were triangles of wood, cord- 
ed with fibres of cane ; their banjoes consisted of gourds covered 
with skin pierced by holes, and strung like the harps ; but, I 
confess, that I can neither rave nor go into ecstasies over the com- 
bined effect which saluted me from such instruments or such 
voices. I was particularly struck, however, by one of their in- 
ventions, which slightly resembles the harmonica I have seen 
played by children in this country. A board, about two feet 
square, was bordered by a light frame at two ends, across which 
a couple of cane strings were tightly stretched. On these, strips 



166 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

of nicely trimmed bamboo, gradually diminishing in size from 
left to right, were placed ; whilst beneath them, seven gourds, 
also gradually decreasing, were securely fastened to mellow the 
sound. The instrument was carried by a strap round the player's 
neck, and was struck by two small wooden hammers softened by 
some delicate substance. 

One of the prettiest girls in the bevy had charge of this 
African piano, and was said to be renowned for uncommon skill. 
Her feet, hands, wrists, elbows, ankles, and knees, were strung 
with small silvery bells ; and, as the gay damsel was dancer and 
singer as well as musician, she seemed to reek with sound from 
every pore. Many of her attitudes would probably have been, 
at least, more picturesque and decent for drapery ; but, in Jai- 
lica, Madoo, the ayah^ was considered a Mozart in composition, 
a Lind in melody, and a Taglioni on the " light fantastic 
toe ! " 

When the performance closed, Suphiana presented her a 
slave ; and, as she made an obeisance to me in passing, I handed 
her my bowie-knife^ promising to redeem it at my lodgings with 
ten pounds of tobacco ! 

Some superstitious notions about the state of the moon pre- 
vented my Fullah guide from departing as soon as I desired ; 
but while we were dallying with the planet, Ali-Ninpha became 
so ill that he was compelled to halt and end the journey in his 
favorite Jallica. I rather suspected the Mandiugo to feign 
more suffering than he really experienced, and I soon discover- 
ed that his malady was nothing but a sham. In truth, Ali- 
Ninpha had duped so many Fullah traders on the beach, and 
owed them the value of so many slaves, that he found it extreme- 
ly inconvenient, if not perilous, to enter the domain of the Ali- 
Mami of Footha-Yallon ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER, 167 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

A MESSENGER was despatched from Jallica, in advance of our 
departure, to announce our approach to Tirabo. For six days 
more, our path led over hill and dale, and through charming 
valleys, fed by gentle streamlets that nourished the vigorous 
vegetation of a mountain land. 

As vre crossed the last summits that overlooked the territory 
of Footha-Yallon, a broad plateau, whence a wide range of coun- 
try might be beheld, was filled with bands of armed men, afoot 
and on horseback, while a dozen animals were held in tether by 
their gayly dressed attendants. I dashed to the head of the 
caravan on my jaded beast, and reached it just in time to 
find the sable arms of Ahmah-de-Bellah opening to greet me ! 
The generous youth, surrounded by his friends and escorted by 
a select corps of soldiers and slaves, had come thus far on the 
path to offer the prince's welcome ! 

I greeted the Mahometan with the fervor of ancient love ; 
and, in a moment, we were all dismounted and on our knees ; 
while, at a signal from the chief, profound silence reigned 
throughout the troop and caravan. Every eye was turned across 
the distant plain to the east. An air of profoundest devotion 
subdued the multitude, and, in a loud chant, Ahmah-de-Bel- 
lah, with outstretched arms and upraised face, sang forth a 
psalm of gratitude to Allah for the safety of his " brother." 



168 CAPTAIN canot: or, 

The surprise of this complimentary reception was not only 
delightful as an evidence of African character among these more 
civilized tribes of the Mahometan interior, but it gave me an 
assurance of security and trade, which was very acceptable to one 
so far within the bowels of the land. We were still a day's 
journey from the capitah Ahraah-de-Bellah declared it impos- 
sible, with all the diligence we could muster, to reach Timbo 
without another halt. Nevertheless, as he was extremely solicit- 
ous to bring us to our travel's end, he not only supplied my per- 
sonal attendants with fresh horses, but ordered carriers from 
his own guard to charge themselves with the entire luggage of 
our caravan. 

Thus relieved of burden, our party set forth on the path in 
a brisk trot, and resting after dark for several hours in a village, 
we entered Timbo unceremoniously before daybreak while its 
inhabitants were still asleep. 

I was immediately conducted to a house specially built for 
me, surrounded by a high wall to protect my privacy from in- 
trusion. Within, I found a careful duplicate of all the humble 
comforts in my domicil on the Rio Pongo. Tables, sofas, plates, 
knives, forks, tumblers, pitchers, basins, — had all been purchased 
by my friend, and forwarded for this establishment, from other 
factories without my knowledge ; while the centre of the main 
apartment was decorated with an " American rocking-chair," 
which the natives had ingeniously contrived of rattans and bam- 
boo ! Such pleasant evidences of refined attention were more 
remarkable and delicate, because most of the articles are not 
used by Mahometans. " These, I hope," said Ahmah-de-Bellah, 
as he led me to a seat, " will make you comparatively comfort- 
able while you please to dwell with your brother in Timbo. 
You have no thanks to return, because I have not treated you 
like a native Mussulman ; for you were kind enough to remember 
all my own little nationalities when I was your guest on the 
beach. Allah be praised for your redemption and arrival ; — and 
so, brother, take your rest in peace within the realm of the Ali- 
Mami, your father ! " 

I embraced the generous fellow with as much cordiality as if 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 169 

he had been a kinsman from the sweet valley of Arno. During his 
visit to my factory he was particularly charmed with an old 
dressing-gown I used for my siestas, and when I resolved on this 
journey, I caused an improved copy of it to be made by one of 
the most skilful artists on the river. A flashy pattern of calico 
was duly cut into rather ampler form than is usual among our 
dandies. This was charmingly lined with sky-blue, and set off 
at the edges with broad bands of glaring yellow. The effect of 
the whole, indeed, was calculated to strike an African fancy ; so 
that, when 1 drew the garment from my luggage, and threw it, 
together with a fine white ruflBed shirt, over the shoulders of 
" my brother," I thought the pious Mussulman would have gone 
wild with delight. He hugoced me a dozen times with the 
gripe of a tiger, and probably would have kissed quite as 
lustily, had I not deprecated any further ebullitions of bodily 
gratitude. 

A bath erased not only the dust of travel from my limbs, but 
seemed to extract even the memory of its toils from my bones 
and muscles. Ahmah-de-Bellah intimated that the Ali-Mami 
would soon be prepared to receive me without ceremony. The 
old gentleman was confined by dropsy in his lower extremities, 
and probably found it uncomfortable to sustain the annoyance of 
public life except when absolutely necessary. The burden of 
my entertainment and glorification, therefore, was cast on the 
shoulders of his younger kinsfolk, for which, I confess, I was 
proportionally grateful. Accordingly, when I felt perfectly refresh- 
ed, I arose from my matted sofa, and dressing for the first timu 
in more than a month in a perfectly clean suit, I donned a snowy 
shirt, a pair of dashing drills, Parisian pumps, and a Turkish 
fez^ tipped with a copious tassel. Our interpreters were clad in 
fresh Mandingo dresses adorned with extra embroidery. My 
body-servant was ordered to appear in a cast-off suit of my own ; 
so that, when I gave one my double-barrelled gun to carry, and 
armed the others with my pistols, and a glittering regulation- 
sword, — designed as a gift for the Ali-Mami, — I presented a 
very respectable and picturesque appearance for a gentleman 
abroad on his travels in the East. The moment I issued with 
8 



170 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

my train from the house, a crowd of Fullahs was ready to re 
ceive me with exclamations of chattering surprise ; still I was 
not annoyed, as elsewhere, by the unfailing concourse that fol- 
lowed my footsteps or clogged my pathway. 

The " palace " of the Ali-Mami of Footha-Yallon, like all 
African palaces in this region, was an adobe hovel, surrounded 
by its portico shed, and protected by a wall from the intrusion 
of the common herd. In front of the dwelling, beneath the 
shelter of the verandah, on a fleecy pile of sheepskin mats, re- 
clined the veteran, whose swollen and naked feet were under- 
going a cooling process from the palm-leaf fans of female slaves. 
I marched up boldly in front of him with my military suite, and, 
making a profound salaam, was presented by Ahmah de-Bellah 
as his " white brother." The Ali at once extended both hands, 
and, grasping mine, drew me beside him on the sheepskin. 
Then, looking intently over my face and into the very depth 
of my eyes, he asked gently ^ith a smile — " what was my 
name ? " 

" Ahmah-de-Bellah ! " replied I, after the fashion of the 
country. As I uttered the Mahometan appellation, for which I 
had exchanged my own with his son at Kambia, the old man, 
who still held my hands, put one of his arms round my waist, 
and pressed me still closer to his side; — then, lifting both arms 
extended to heaven, he repeated several times, — God is great ! 
God is great ! God is great ! — and Mahomet is his Prophet ! " 

This was followed by a grand inquest in regard to myself 
and history. Who was my father ? Who was my mother ? 
How many brothers had I ? Were they warriors ? Were they 
'• book-men ? " Why did I travel so far ? What delay would 
I make in Footha Yallon ? Was my dwelling comfortable ? 
Had I been treated with honor, respect and attention on my 
journey ? And, last of all, the prince sincerely hoped that I 
would find it convenient to dwell with him during the whole of 
the " rainy season." 

Several times, in the midst of these interrogations, the patri- 
arch groaned, and I could perceive, from the pain that flitted 
like a shadow over the nerves and muscles of his face, that he 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 171 

was suffering severely, and, of course, I cut the interview as short 
as oriental etiquette would allow. He pressed me once more to 
his bosom, and speaking to the interpreter, bade him tell his 
master, the Furtoo, that any thing I fancied in the realm was 
mine. Slaves, horses, cattle, stuffs, — all were at my disposal. 
Then, pointing to his son, he said : " Ahmah-de-Bellah, the white 
man is our guest ; his brother will take heed for his wants, and. 
redress every complaint." 

The prince was a man of sixty at least. His stature was 
noble and commanding, if not absolutely gigantic, — being several 
mches over six feet, — while his limbs and bulk were in perfect 
proportion. His oval head, of a rich mahogany color, was 
quite bald to the temples, and covered by a turban, whose 
ends depended in twin folds along his cheeks. The contour of 
his features was remarkably regular, though his lips were rather 
full, and his nose somewhat flat, yet free from the disgusting 
depression and cavities of the negro race. His forehead was 
high and perpendicular, while his mouth glistened with ivory 
when he spoke or smiled. I had frequent opportunities to talk 
with the king afterwards, and was always delighted by the affec- 
tionate simplicity of his demeanor. As it was the country's cus- 
tom to educate the first-born of royalty for the throne, the Ali- 
Mami of Footha-Yallon had been brought up almost within the 
precincts of the mosque. I found the prince, therefore, more of 
a meditative " book-man " than warrior ; while the rest of his 
family, and especially his younger brothers, had never been 
exempt from military duties, at home or abroad. Like a good 
Mussulman, the sovereign was a quiet, temperate gentleman, 
never indulging in " bitters " or any thing stronger than a drink 
fermented from certain roots, and sweetened to resemble mead. 
His intercourse with me was always affable and solicitous for my 
comfort ; nor did he utter half a dozen sentences without inter- 
larding them with fluent quotations from the Koran. Some- 
times, in the midst of a pleasant chat in which he was wondering 
at my curiosity and taste for information about new lands, he 
would suddenly break off because it was his hour for prayer ; at 
others, he would end the interview quite as unceremoniously, 



172 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

because it was time for ablution. Thus, between praying, wash- 
ing, eating, sleeping, slave dealing, and fanning his dropsical 
feet, the life of the Ali-Mami passed monotonously enough even 
for an oriental prince ; but I doubt not, the same childish routine 
is still religiously pursued, unless it has pleased Allah to sum- 
mon the faithful prince to the paradise of " true believers." I 
could never make him understand how a ship might be built 
large enough to hold provisions for a six months' voyage ; and, 
as to the sea, '• it was a mystery that none but God and a white 
man could solve ! " 

As I was to breakfast on the day of my arrival at the dwell- 
ing of Ahmah-de-Bellah's mother, after my presentation to the 
prince her husband, I urged the footsteps of my companion with 
no little impatience as soon as I got out of the royal hearing. 
My fast had been rather longer than comfortable, even in obedi- 
ence to royal etiquette. However, we were soon within the 
court-yard of her sable ladyship, who, though a dame of fifty at 
least, persisted in hiding her charms of face and bosom beneath 
a capacious cloth. Nevertheless, she welcomed me quite ten- 
derly. She called me " Ahmah-de-Bellah-Theodoree," — and, 
with her own hands, mixed the dainties on which we were to 
breakfast while cosily squatted on the mats of her verandah. 
Our food was simple enough for the most dyspeptic homoeopa- 
thist. Milk and rice were alternated with bonney-clabber and 
honey, seasoned by frequent words of hospitable encouragement. 
The frugal repast was washed down by calabashes of cool water, 
which were handed round by naked damsels, whose beautiful 
limbs might have served as models for an artist. 

AVhen the meal was finished, I hoped that the day's ceremo- 
nial was over, but, to my dismay, I discovered that the most 
formal portion of my reception was yet to come. 

'• We will now hasten," said Ahmah-de-Bellah, as I salaamed 
his mamma, " to the palaver-ground, where I am sure our chiefs 
are, by this time, impatient to see you." Had I been a feeble 
instead of a robust campaigner, I would not have resisted the 
intimation, or desired a postponement of the " palaver ; " so I 
*' took my brother's " arm, and, followed by my cortege, pro- 



TWEN1\ YJCA"- OF AX AFRICAN SLAVER. 173 

ceeded to the interview iLat was to take place beyond the walls, 
in an exquisite grove of cotton-wood and tamarind-trees, appro- 
priated to this sort of town-meeting. Here I found a vast assem- 
blage of burghers : and in their midst, squatted ou sheepskins, 
was a select ring oi patrcs conscripti, presided by Sulimani-Ali, 
son of the king, and brother of my companion. 

As the Fullah presented me to his warrior-kinsman, he rose 
with a profound salutation, and taking my hand, led me to a 
rock, covered with a white napkin, — the seat of honor for an 
eminent stranger. The moment I was placed, the chiefs sprang 
up and each one grasped ray hand, bidding me welcome tlirice. 
Ahmah-de-Bellah stood patiently beside me until this ceremony 
was over, and each noble resumed his sheepskin. Then, taking 
a long cane from the eldest of the group, he stepped forward, 
saluted the assembly three times, thrice invoked Allah, and in- 
troduced me to the chiefs and multitude as his " brother." I 
came, he said, to Footha-Yallon ou his invitation, and by the ex- 
press consent of his beloved king and father, and of his beloved 
elder brother, Sulimani. He hoped, therefore, that every 
" head-man " present would see the rites of hospitality faithfully 
exercised to his white brother while he dwelt in Footha. There 
were many reasons that he could give why this should be done ; 
but he would rest content with stating only three. First of all : 
I was nearly as good a Mussulman as many Mandingoes, and he 
knew the fact, because U.c had converted me himself I Secondly: 
I was entitled to every sort of courtesy from Fullahs, because I 
was a rich trader from the Rio Pongo. And, thirdly : I had 
penetrated even to this very heart of Africa to purchase slaves 
for most liberal prices. 

It is the custom in African " palavers," as well as among 
African religionists, to give token of assent by a sigh, a groan, 
a slight exclamation, or a shout, when any thing affecting, agree- 
able, or touching is uttered by a speaker. Now, when my Ful- 
lah brother informed his friends of my arrival, my name, my 
demand for hospitality, and my Avcalth, the grunts and groans of 
the assembly augmented in number and volume as he went on ; 
but when they heard of my design "to purchase slaves,''^ a climax 



174 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

was reached at once, and, as with one voice, they shouted . 
" May the Lord of heaven be praised ! " 

I smothered a laugh and strangled a smile as well as I could, 
when my interpreters expounded the "stump speech " of Ahmah- 
de-Bellah ; and I lost no time in directing them to display the 
presents which some of my retainers, in the meanwhile, had 
brought to the grove. They consisted of several packages of 
blue and white calicoes, ten yards of brilliant scarlet cloth, six 
kegs of powder, three hundred pounds of tobacco, two strings 
of amber beads, and six muskets. On a beautiful rug, I set aside 
the gilded sword and o, ^package of cantharides^ designed for the 
king. 

When my arrangement was over, Sulimani took the cane from 
his brother, and stepping forward, said that the gifts to which he 
pointed proved the truth of Ahmah-de-Bellah's words, and that 
a rich man, indeed, had come to Footha-Yallon. Nay, more ; — 
the rich man wanted slaves ! Was I not generous ? I was their 
guest, and owed them no tribute or duties : and yet, had I not 
voluntarily lavished my presents upon the chiefs ? Next day, 
his father would personally distribute my offering ; but, whilst I 
dwelt in Footlia, a bullock and ten baskets of rice should daily be 
furnished for my caravan's support ; and, as every chief would 
partake my bounty, each one should contribute to my comfort. 

This speech, like the former, was hailed with grunts ; but I 
could not help noticing that the vote of supplies was not cheered 
half as lustily as the announcement of my larges&e. 

The formalities being over, the inquisitive head-men crowded 
round the presents with as much eagerness as aspirants for office 
at a presidential inauguration. The merchandise was inspected, 
felt, smelled, counted, measured, and set aside. The rug an J 
the sword, being royal gifts, were delicately handled. But when 
the vials of cantharides were unpacked, and their contents an- 
nounced, each of the chieftains insisted that his majesty should 
not monopolize the coveted stimulant. A sharp dispute on the 
subject arose between the princes and the councillors , so that I 
was forced to interfere through the interpreters, who could only 
quiet the rebels by the promise of a dozen additional flasks for 
.their private account. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 175 

In the midst of the wrangling, Sulimani and Ahmah ordered 
their father's slaves to carry the gifts to the Ali-Mami's palace ; 
and, taking me between thsm, we raarcted, arm in arm, to my 
domicil. Here I found Abdulmomen Ali, another son of the 
king, waiting for his brothers to present him to the Mongo of 
Kambia. Abdulmomen was introduced as " a learned divine," 
and began at once to talk Koran in the most 77iufli-\i]:e manner. 
I had made such sorry improvement in Mahometanism since 
Ahmah-de-Bellah's departure from the Rio Pongo, that I thought 
it safest to sit silent, as if under the deepest fervor of Mussul- 
man conviction. I soon found that Abdulmomen, like many 
more clergymen, was willing enough to do all the preaching, 
whenever he found an unresisting listener. I put on a look of 
very intelligent assent and thankfulness to all the arguments 
and commentaries of my black brother, and in this way I avoided 
the detection of my ignorance, as many a better man has probably 
done before me ! 



176 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTEK XXIV. 

TiMBo lies on a rulling plain. North of it, a lofty mountain 
range rises at the distance of ten or fifteen miles, and sweeps 
eastwardly to the horizon. The landscape, which declines from 
these slopes to the south, is in many places bare ; yet fields of 
plentiful cultivation, groves of cotton-wood, tamarind and oak, 
thickets of shrubbery and frequent villages, stud its surface, and 
impart an air of rural comfort to the picturesque scene. 

I soon proposed a gallop with my African kindred over the 
neighborhood ; and, one fine morning, after a plentiful breakfast 
of stewed fowls, boiled to rags with rice, and seasoned with 
delicious '-palavra sauce," we cantered off to the distant villages. 
As we approached the first brook, but before the fringe of screen- 
ing bushes was passed, our cavalcade drew rein abruptly, while 
Ahmah-de-Bellah cried out : " Strangers are coming ! " A few 
moments after, as we slowly crossed the stream, I noticed several 
women crouched in the underwood, having lied from the bath. 
This warning is universally given, and enforced by law, to guard 
the modesty of the gentler sex. 

In half an hour we reached the first suburban village ; but 
fame had preceded us with my character, and as the settlement 
was cultivated either by serfs or negroes liable to be made so, 
we found the houses bare. The poor wretches had learned, on 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 177 

the day of my reception, that the principal object of my journey 
was to obtain slaves, and, of course, they imagined that the only 
object of my foray in their neighborhood, was to seize the gang 
and bear it abroad in bondage. Accordingly, we tarried only a 
few minutes in Findo, and dashed off to Furo ; but here, too, 
the blacks had been panic-struck, and escaped so hurriedly that 
they left their pots of rice, vegetables, and meat boiling in their 
sheds. Furo was absolutely stripped of inhabitants ; the vete- 
ran chief of the village did not even remain to do the honors 
for his affrighted brethren. Ahmah-de-Bellah laughed heartily 
at the terror I inspired ; but I confess I could not help feeling 
sadly mortified when I found my presence shunned as a pesti- 
lence. 

The native villages through which I passed on this excursion 
manifested the great comfort in which these Africans live through- 
out their prolific land, when unassailed by the desolating wars 
that are kept up for slave-trade. It was the height of the dry 
season, when every thing was parched by the sun, yet I could 
trace the outlines of fine plantations, gardens, and rice-fields. 
Every where I found abundance of peppers, onions, garlic, to- 
matoes, sweet potatoes, and cassava, while tasteful fences were 
garlanded with immense vines and flowers. Fowls, goats, sheep, 
and oxen, stalked about in innumerable flocks, and from every 
domicil depended a paper, inscribed with a charm from the Koran 
to keep off thieves and witches. 

My walks through Timbo were promoted by the constant 
efforts of my entertainers to shield me from intrusive curiosity. 
Whenever I sallied forth, two townsfolk in authority were sent 
forward to warn the public that the Furtoo desired to promenade 
without a mob at his heels. These lusty criers stationed them- 
selves at the corners with an iron triangle, which they rattled to 
call attention to the king's command ; and, in a short time, the 
highways were so clear of people, who feared a bastinado, that I 
found my loneliness rather disagreeable than otherwise. Every 
person I saw, shunned me. When I called the children or 
little girls, — they fled from me. My reputation as a slaver in 
the villages, and the fear of a lash in the town, furnished mo 
8* 



178 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

much more solitude than is generally agreeable to a sensitive 
traveller. 

Towards night-fall I left my companions, and wrapping my- 
self closely in a Mandingo dress, stole away through bye-ways 
to a brook which runs by the town walls. Thither the females 
resort at sunset to draw water ; and, choosing a screened situa- 
tion, where I would not be easily observed, I watched, for 
more than an hour, the graceful children, girls, and women of 
Timbo, as they performed this domestic task of eastern lands. 

I was particularly impressed by the general beauty of the 
sex, who, in many respects, resembled the Moor rather than the 
negro. Unaware of a stranger's presence, they came forth as 
usual in a simple dress which covers their body from waist to 
knee, and leaves the rest of the figure entirely naked. Group 
after group gathered together on the brink of the brook in the 
slanting sunlight and lengthening shadows of the plain. Some 
rested on their pitchers and water vessels; some chatted, or 
leaned on each other gracefully, listening to the chat of friends ; 
some stooped to fill their jars ; others lifted the brimming 
vessels to their sisters' shoulders — while others strode home- 
ward singing, with their charged utensils poised on head or 
hand. Their slow, stately, swinging movement under the burden, 
was grace that might be envied on a Spanish paseo. I do not 
think the forms of these Fullah girls, — with their complexions of 
freshest bronze, — are exceeded in symmetry by the women of any 
other country. There was a slender delicacy of limb, waist, neck, 
hand, foot, and bosom, which seemed to be the type that mould- 
ed every one of them. I saw none of the hanging breast ; the 
flat, expanded nostrils ; the swollen lips, and fillet-like foreheads, 
that characterize the Soosoos and their sisters of the coast. None 
were deformed, nor were any marked by traces of disease. 
I may observe, moreover, that the male FuUahs of Timbo are 
impressed on my memory by a beauty of form, which almost 
equals that of the women ; and, in fact, the only fault I found 
with them was their minute resemblance to the feminine de- 
licacy of the other sex. They made up, however, in courage 
what they lacked in form, for their manly spirit has made them 



"^ii^iiiiii'iaillijliiiit" 




TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 179 

renowned among all the tribes they have so long controlled by 
distinguished bravery and perseverance. 

The patriarchal landscape by the brook, with the Oriental 
girls over their water-jars, and the lowing cattle in the pastures, 
brought freshly to my mind many a Bible scene T heard my 
mother read when I was a boy at home ; and I do not know 
what revolution might have been wrought on my spirit had I not 
suddenly become critical ! A stately dame passed within twenty 
feet of my thicket, whose coiffure excited my mirth so power- 
fully that I might have been detected as a spy, had not a bitten 
lip controlled my laughter. Her lad3^ship belonged, perhaps, to 
the " upper-ten " of Timbo, whose heads had hitherto been hid- 
den from my eyes by the jealous yaskmacks they constantly 
wear in a stranger's presence. In this instance, however, the 
woman's head, like that of the younger girls, was uncovered, so 
that I had a full view of the stately preparation. Her lower 
limbs were clad in ample folds of blue and white cotton, knotted 
in an immense mass at the waist, while her long crisp hair had 
been combed out to its fullest dimensions and spliced with addi- 
tional wool. The ebony fleece was then separated in strands 
half an inch in diameter, and plaited all over her skull in a 
countless number of distinct braids. This quill-like structure 
was then adorned with amber beads, and copiously anointed 
with vegetable butter, so that the points gleamed with fire in the 
setting sunlight, and made her look as if she had donned for 
a bewitching headdress a porcupine instead of a '' bird of par- 
adise." 

My trip to Timbo, I confess, was one of business rather than 
pleasure or scientific exploration. I did not make a record, at 
the moment, of my " impressions de voyage," and never though* 
that, a quarter of a century afterwards, I would feel disposed to 
chronicle the journey in a book, as an interesting souvenir of 
my early life. Had I supposed that the day would come when 
I was to turn author, it is likely I might have been more in- 
quisitive j but, being only " a slaver," I found Ahma, Sulimani, 
Abdulmomen, the Ali-Mami, and all the quality and amusements 



180 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

of Timbo, dull enough, lohen my object ivas achieved. Still, 
■while I was there, I thought I might as well see all that was 
visible. I strolled repeatedly through the town. I became ex- 
cessively familiar with its narrow streets, low houses, mud walls, 
cul-de-sacs, and mosques. I saw no fine bazaars, market-places, 
or shops. The chief wants of life were supplied by peddlers. 
Platters, jars, and baskets of fruit, vegetables, and meat, were 
borne around twice or thrice daily. Horsemen dashed about on 
beautiful steeds towards the fields in the morning, or came home 
at night- full at a slower pace. I never saw man or ivoman bask 
lazily in Ike sun. Females were constantly busy over their 
cotton and spinning wheels when not engaged in household occu- 
pations ; and often have I seen an elderly dame quietly crouched 
in her hovel at sunset reading the Koran. Nor are the men of 
Timbo less thrifty. Their city wall is said to hem in about ten 
thousand individuals, representing all the social industries. 
They weave cotton, work in leather, fabricate iron from the bar, 
engage diligently in agriculture, and, whenever not laboriously 
employed, devote themselves to reading and writing, of which 
they are excessively fond. 

These are the faint sketches, which, on ransacking my brain, 
I find resting on its tablets. But I was tired of Timbo ; I was 
perfectly refreshed from my journey ; and I was anxious to re- 
turn to my factory on the beach. Two " moons " only had been 
originally set apart for the enterprise, and the third was already 
waxing towards its full. I feared the Ali-Mami was not yet 
prepared with slaves for my departure, and I dreaded lest objec- 
tions might be made if I approached his royal highness with the 
fiat announcement. Accordingly, I schooled my interpreters, 
and visited that important personage. I made a long speech, as 
full of compliments and blarney as a Christmas pudding is 
of plums, and concluded by touching the soft part in African 
royalty's heart — slaves ! I told the king that a vessel or two, 
with abundant freights, would be waiting me on the river, and 
that I must hasten thither with his choicest gangs if he hoped to 
reap a profit. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 181 

The king and the royal family were no doubt excessively 
grieved to part with the Furtoo Mongo, but they were discreet 
persons and '• listened to reason." War parties and scouts were 
forthwith despatched to blockade the paths, while press-gangs 
made recruits among the villages, and even in Timbo. Sulimani- 
Ali, himself, sallied forth, before daybreak, with a troop of horse, 
and at sundown, came back with forty-five splendid fellows, cap- 
tured in Findo and Furo ! 

The personal dread of me in the town itself, was augmented. 
If I had been a Pestilence before, I was Death now ! When I 
took my usual morning walk the children ran from me scream- 
ing. 8ince the arrival of Sulimani with his victims, all who 
were under the yoke thought their hour of exile had come. The 
poor regarded me as the devil incarnate. Once or twice, I 
caught women throwing a handful of dust or ashes towards 
me, and uttering an invocation from the Koran to avert the 
demon or save them from his clutche.?. Their curiosity was 
merged in terror. My iiopularity was, over ! 

It was not. a little amusing that in the midst of the general 
dismay, caused by tlie court of Timbo and myself, my colored 
brother Ahmah-de-Bellah, and his kinsman Abdulmomen, lost 
no chance of lecturing me about my soul ! We kidnapped the 
Africans all day and spouted Islamism all night ! Our religion, 
however, was more speculative than practical. It was much more 
important, they thought, that we should embrace the faith of 
their peculiar theology, than that we should trouble ourselves 
about human rights that interfered with profits and pockets. 
We spared Mahometans and enslaved only " the heathen ; " 
so that, in fact, we w€re merely obedient to the behests of Ma- 
homet when we subdued " the infidel ! " 

This process of proselytism, however, was not altogether suc- 
cessful. As I was already a rather poor Christian, I fear that 
the FuUah did not succeed in making me a very good Mussul- 
man. Still, I managed to amuse him with the hope of my future 
improvement in his creed, so that we were very good friends 
when the Ali-Mami summoned us for a final interview. 



182 

The parting of men is seldom a maudlin affair. The king's 
relations presented me bullocks, cows, goats, and sheep. His 
majesty sent me five slaves. Sulimani-Ali offered a splendid 
white charger. The king^s wife supplied me with an African 
quilt ingeniously woven of red and yellow threads unravelled 
from Manchester cottons ; while Ahmah-de-Bellah, like a gentle- 
man of taste, despatched for my consolation, the two prettiest 
handmaidens he could buy or steal in Timbo ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 183 



CHAPTER XXV. 

I SHALL not weary the reader with a narrative of ray journey 
homeward over the track I had followed on my way to Timbo. 
A grand Mahometan service was performed at my departure, and 
Ahmah-de-Bellah accompanied me as far as Jallica, whence he 
was recalled by his father in consequence of a serious family dis- 
pute that required his presence. Ali-Ninpha was prepared, in 
this place, to greet me with a welcome, and a copious supply of 
gold, wax, ivory, and slaves. At Tamisso, the worthy Mahome- 
doo had complied with his promise to furnish a similar addition 
to the caravan ; so that when we set out for Kya, our troop was 
swelled to near a thousand strong, counting men, women, children 
and ragamuffins. 

At Kya I could not help tarrying four days with my jolly 
friend Ibrahim, who received the tobacco, charged with " bitters," 
during my absence, and was delighted to furnish a nourishing 
drop after my long abstinence. As we approached the coast, 
another halt was called at a favorable encampment, where Ali- 
Ninpha divided the caravan in four parts, reserving the best 
portion of slaves and merchandise for me. The division, before 
arrival, was absolutely necessary, in order to prevent disputes or 
disastrous quarrels in regard to the merchantable quality of 
negroes on the beach. 

I hoped to take my people by surprise at Kambia ; but when 
the factory came in sight from the hill-tops back of the settle- 



184 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

ment, I saw the Spanish flag floating from its summit, and heard 
the cannon booming forth a welcome to the wanderer. Every 
thing had been admirably conducted in my absence. The FuUah 
and my clerk preserved their social relations and the public tran- 
quillity unimpaired. My factory and warehouse were as neat and 
orderly as when I left them, so that I had nothing to do but go 
to sleep as if I had made a day's excursion to a neighboring vil- 
lage. 

Within a week I paid for the caravan's produce, despatched 
Mami de-Yong, and made arrangements with the captain of a 
slaver in the river for the remainder of his merchandise. But 
the FuUah chief had not left me more than a day or two, when I 
was surprised by a traveller who dashed into my factory, with a 
message from Ahmah-de-Bellah at Timbo, whence he had posted 
in twenty-one days. 

Ahniah was in trouble. He had been recalled, as I said, 
from Jallica by family quarrels. AVhen he reached the paternal 
mat, he found his sister Beeljie bound hand and foot in prison, 
with orders for her prompt transportation to my factory as a 
slave. These w^ere the irrevocable commands of his royal father, 
and of her half-brother, Sulimani. All his appeals, seconded 
by those of his mother, were unheeded. She must be shipped 
from the Rio Porgo ; and no one could be trusted with the task 
but the Ali-Mami's son and friend, the Mongo Teodor ! 

To resist this dire command, Ahmah charged the messenger 
to appeal to my heart by our brotherly love, not to allow the 
maiden to be sent over sea ; but, by force or stratagem, to retain 
her until he arrived on the beach. 

The news amazed me. I knew that African Mahometans 
never sold their caste or kindred into foreign slavery, unless 
their crime deserved a penalty severer than death. I reflected 
a while on the message, because I did not wish to complicate 
my relations with the leading chiefs of the interior ; but, in a 
few moments, natural sensibility mastered every selfish impulse, 
and I told the envoy to hasten back on the path of the sufi'er- 
ing brother, and assure him I would shield his sister, even at 
the risk of his kindred's wrath. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 185 

About a week afterwards I was aroused one morning by a 
runner from a neighboring village over the hill, who stated that 
a courier reached his town the night before from Sulimani-Ali, — 
a prince of Timbo, — conducting a Fullah girl, who was to be 
sold by me immediately to a Spanish slaver. The girl, he said, 
resisted with all her energy. She refused to walk. For the last 
four days she had been borne along in a litter. She swore never 
to " see the ocean ; " and threatened to dash her skull against 
the first rock in her path, if they attempted to carry her further. 
The stanch refusal embarrassed her Mahometan conductor, inas- 
much as his country's law forbade him to use extraordinary com- 
pulsion, or degrade the maiden with a whip. 

I saw at once that this delay and hesitation afforded an op- 
portunity to interfere judiciously in behalf of the spirited girl, 
whose sins or faults were still unknown to me. Accordingly, I 
imparted the tale to Ali-Ninpha ; and, with his consent, des- 
patched a shrewd dame from the Mandingo's harem^ with direc- 
tions for her conduct to the village. Woman's tact and woman's 
sympathy are the same throughout the world, and the proud am- 
bassadress undertook her task with pleased alacrity. I warned 
her to be extremely cautious before the myrmidons of Sulimani, 
but to seize a secret moment when she might win the maiden's 
confidence, to inform her that I was the sworn friend of Ahmali- 
de-Bellah, and would save her if she fuUoived my commands 
implicitly. She must cease resistance at once. She must come 
to the river, which was fresh water, and not salt ; and she must 
allow her jailors to fulfil all the orders they received from her 
tyrannical kinsmen. Muffled in the messenger's garments, I sent 
the manuscript Koran of Ahmah-de-Bellah as a token of my 
truth, and bade the dame assure Beeljie that her brother was 
already far on his journey to redeem her in Kambia. 

The mission was successful, and, early next day, the girl was 
brought to my factory, with a rope round her neck. 

The preliminaries for her purchase were tedious and formal. 
As her sale was compulsory, there was not much question as to 
quality or price. Still, I was obliged to promise a multitude of 
things I did not intend to perform. In order to disgrace the 



186 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

"poor creature as much as possible, her sentence declared she 
should be "sold for salt," — the most contemptuous of all African 
exchanges, and used in the interior for the purchase of cattle 
alone. 

Poor Beeljie stood naked and trembling before us while these 
ceremonies were performing. A scowl of indignation flitted like 
a shadow over her face, as she heard the disgusting commands. 
Tenderly brought up among the princely brood of Timbo, she was 
a bright and delicate type of the classes I described at the brook- 
side. Her limbs and features were stained by the dust of travel, 
and her expression was clouded with the grief of sensible degra- 
dation: still I would have risked more than I did, when I beheld 
the mute appeal of her face and form, to save her from the doom 
of Cuban exile. 

When the last tub of salt was measured, I cut the rope from 
Beeljie's neck, and, throwing over her shoulders a shawl, — in 
which she instantly shrank with a look of gratitude, — called the 
female who had borne my cheering message, to take the girl to 
her house and treat her as the sister of my FuUah brother. 

As 1 expected, this humane command brought the emissary 
of Sulimani to his feet with a bound. He insisted on the resti- 
tution of the woman ! He swore I had deceived him ; and, in 
fact, went through a variety of African antics which are not unu- 
sual, even among the most civilized of the tribes, when excited 
to extraordinary passion. 

It was my habit, during these outbursts of native ire, to 
remain perfectly quiet, not only until the explosion was over, 
but while the smoke was disappearing from the scene. I fas- 
tened my eye, therefore, silently, but intensely, on the tiger, fol- 
lowing him in all his movements about the apartment, till he 
sank, subdued and panting, on the mat. I then softly told him 
that this excitement was not only unbecoming a Mahometan gen- 
tleman, and fit for a savage alone, but that it was altogether 
wasted on the present occasion, inasmuch as the girl should be 
put on board a slaver in his presence. Nevertheless, I con- 
tinued, while the sister of Ahmah was under my roof, her blood 
must be respected, and she should be treated in every respect 
as a royal person. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 187 

I was quite as curious as the reader may be to know the 
crime of Beeljie, for, up to that moment, I had not been in- 
formed of it. Dismissing the Fullah as speedily as possible, I 
hastened to Ali-Ninpha's dwelling and heard the sufferer's story. 

The Mahometan princess, whose age surely did not exceed 
eighteen, had been promised by the king and her half-brother, 
Sulimani, to an old relative, who was not only accused of cruelty 
to his harem's inmates, but was charged by Mussulmen with the 
heinous crime of eating " unclean flesh." The girl, who seemed 
to be a person of masculine courage and determination, resisted 
this disposal of her person ; but, while her brother Ahmah was 
away, she was forced from her mother's arms and given to the 
filthy dotard. 

It is commonly supposed that women are doomed to the 
basest obedience in oriental lands ; yet, it seems there is a Ma- 
hometan law, — or, at least, a Fullah custom, — which saves the 
purity of an unwilling bride. The delivery of Beeljie to her 
brutal lord kindled the fire of an ardent temper. She furnished 
the old gentleman with specimens of violence to which his harem 
had been a stranger, save when the master himself chose to in- 
dulge in wrath. In fact, the Fullah damsel — half acting, half 
in reality — played the virago so finely, that her husband, after 
exhausting arguments, promises and supplications, sent her back 
to her kindred ivith an insulting message. 

It was a sad day when she returned to the paternal roof in 
Timbo. Her resistance was regarded by the dropsical despot as 
rebellious disobedience of father and brother ; and, as neither 
authority nor love would induce the outlaw to repent, her barba- 
rous parent condemned her to be " a slave to Christians^ 

Her story ended, I consoled the poor maiden with every 
assurance of protection and comfort ; for, now that the excite- 
ment of sale and journey was over, her nerves gave way, and she 
sank on her mat, completely exhausted. I commended her to 
the safeguard of my landlord and the especial kindness of his 
women. Esther, too, stole up at night to comfort the sufferer 
with her fondlmg tenderness, for she could not speak the Fullah 
language; — and in a week, I had the damsel in capital condition 
ready for a daring enterprise that was to seal her fate. 



188 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

When the Spanish slaver, whose cargo I had just completed, 
was ready for sea, I begged her captain to aid me in the ship- 
ment of ^' a 2}rincess^^ who had been consigned to my wardship 
by her royal relations in the interior, but whom I dared not put 
on board his vessel until she was beyond the Rio For/go's bar. 
The officer assented ; and when the last boat-load of slaves was 
despatched from my barracoo?i, he lifted his anchor and floated 
down the stream till he got beyond the furthest breakers. Here, 
with sails loosely furled, and every thing ready for instant depar- 
ture, he again laid to, awaiting the royal bonne boudt.e. 

In the mean time, I hurried Beeljie with her friends and 
FuUah jailer to the beach, so that when the slaver threw his sails 
aback and brought his vessel to the wind, I lost not a moment in 
putting the girl in a canoe, with five Kroomen to carry her 
through the boiling surf. 

" Allah be praised ! " sighed the FuUah, as the boat shot 
ahead into the sea ; while the girls of the harem fell on the sand 
with wails of sorrow. The Kroomen, with their usual skill, 
drove the buoyant skiff swiftly towards the slaver ; but, as they 
approached the breakers south of the bar, a heavy roller struck 
it on the side, and instantly, its freight was struggling in the 
surge. 

In a twinkling, the FxiUah was on the earth, his face buried 
in the sand ; the girls screamed and tore their garments ; Ali- 
Ninpha's wife clung to me with the grasp of despair ; while I, 
stamping with rage, cursed the barbarity of the maiden's parent, 
whose sentence had brought her to this wretched fate. 

I kicked the howling hypocrite beneath me, and bade him 
hasten with the news to Timbo, and tell the wicked patriarch 
that the Prophet himself had destroyed the life of his wretched 
child, sooner than suffer her to become a Christian's slave. 

The Spanish vessel was under full sail, sweeping rapidly out 
to sea, and the Kroomen swam ashore without their boat, as the 
grieving group slowly and sadly retraced their way along the 
river's bank to Kambia. 

There was wailing that night in the village, and there was 
wailing in Timbo when the FuUah returned with the tragic story 



TWENTY YEARS OF AX AFRICAN SLAVER. 189 

In fact, such was the distracted excitement both on the sea-shore 
and in the settlement, that noue of my companions had eyes to 
observe an episode of the drama which had been played that 
evening; without rehearsal. 

Every body who has been on the coast of Africa, or read of 
its people, knows that Kroomen are altogether unaware of any 
difference between a smooth river and the angriest wave. 
They would as willingly be upset in the surf as stumble against 
a rock. I took advantage of this amphibious nature, to station 
a light canoe immediately on the edge of the breakers, and to 
order the daring swimmers it contained to grasp the girl the 
moment her canoe was pu)yoseIy tij^set ! I promised the divers 
a liberal reward if they lodged her in their boat, or swam with 
her to the nearest point of the opposite beach ; and so well did 
they perform their secret task, that when they drew ashore her 
fainting body, it was promptly received by a trusty Eager, who 
was in waiting on the beach. Before the girl recovered her 
senses she was safely afloat in the fisherman's canoe. His home 
was in a village on the coast below ; and, perhaps, it still remains 
a secret to this day, how it was that, for years after, a girl^ the 
'image of the lost Bce/jie, followed the Joot steps of Ahmah, the 
Fullah 'of Timho ! 



190 CAPTAIN CANOT I OR, 



CHAPTER XXYI. 

After my toilsome journey to the interior, my despatch of a 
slaver, and my adventurous enterprise in behalf of a Fullah prin- 
cess, I thought myself entitled to a long siesta ; but my comfort- 
able desires and anticipations were doomed to disappointment. 
I was suddenly stirred from this willing lethargy by a salute of 
twenty one guns in the offing. Our wonder was almost insup- 
portable as to the character of the ceremonious stranger who 
wasted powder so profusely, while a boy was despatched to the 
top of the look-out tree to ascertain his character. He reported 
a schooner anchored opposite Bangalang, sporting a long pendant 
at the main, and a white ensign at her peak. I took it for granted 
that no man-of-war would salute a native chief, and so concluded 
that it was some pretentious Frenchman, unacquainted with the 
prudent customs of our demure coast. 

The conjecture was right. At nightfall Mr. Ormond — whose 
humor had somewhat improved since my return — apprised me 
that a Gallic slaver had arrived to his consignment with a rich 
cargo, and hoped I would join him at breakfast on board, by in- 
vitation of the commander. 

Next morning, at sunrise, the Mongo and myself met for the 
first time after our rupture with apparent cordiality on the deck 
of " La Perousc," where we were welcomed with all that cor- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 19 

diality of grimace for which a half-bred Frenchman is so justly 
celebrated. Captain Brulot could not speak English, nor could 
Mr. Ormond express himself in French ; so we wasted the time 
till breakfast was served in discussing his cargo and prospects, 
through my interpretation. Fine samples of gaudy calicoes, 
French guns, and superior brandy, were exhibited and dwelt on 
with characteristic eloquence ; but the Gaul closed his bewitch- 
ing catalogue with a shout of joy that made the cabin ring, as 
he announced the complement of his cargo to be jive hundred 
doubloons. The scent of gold has a peculiar charm to African 
slavers, and it will readily be supposed that our appetite for the 
promised dfjeuner was not a little stimulated by the Spanish 
coin. As rapidly as we could, we summed up the doubloons 
and his merchandise ; and, estimating the entire cargo at about 
$17,000, offered him three hundred and fifty negroes for the lot. 
The bid was no sooner made than accepted. Our private boats 
were sent ashore in search of canoes to discharge the goods, and, 
with a relish and spirit I never saw surpassed, we sat down to a 
piquant breakfast, spread on deck beneath the awning. 

I will not attempt to remember the dishes which provoked 
our appetites and teased our thirst. We were happy already on 
the delightful claret that washed down the viands; but, after 
the substantials were gone, coffee was served, and succeeded by 
half a dozen various cordials, the whole being appropriately 
capped by the foam of champagne. 

When the last bumper was quaffed in honor of " La Perouse" 
and " belle France," Captain Brulot called for his writing-desk; 
when, at the instant, four men sprung up as if by enchantment 
behind the Mongo and myself, and grasping our arms with the 
gripe of a vice, held us in their clutches till the carpenter riveted 
a shackle on our feet. 

The scene passed so rapidly, — the transition from gayety to 
outrage was so sharp and violent, that my bewildered mind can- 
not now declare with certainty, whether mirth or anger prevailed 
at the clap-trap trick of this dramatic denouement. I am quite 
sare, however, that if I laughed at first, I very soon swore ; for 
I have a distinct recollection of dashing my fist in the poltroon's 
face before he could extemporize an explanation. 



192 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

When our limbs were perfectly secure, the French scoundrel 
recommenced his shrugs, bows, grins and congees ; and approach- 
ing Mr. Ormond with a sarcastic simper, apprised him that the 
petite comedie in which he took part, had been enacted for the 
collection of a trifling debt which his excellency the Mongo 
owed a beloved brother, who, alas ! was no longer on earth to 
collect it for himself ! 

Monsieur le Mongo, he said, would have the kindness to 
remembet that, several years ago, his brother had left some 
tivo hundred slaves in his hands until called for ; and he would 
also please to take the trouble to recollect, that the said slaves 
had been twice sent for, and twice refused. Monsieur le Mongo 
must know, he continued, that there was not much law on the 
coast of Africa ; and that, as he had Monsieur le Mongo's pro- 
missory note, or due-bill, for the negroes, he thought this charm- 
ing little ruse would be the most amiable and practical mode of 
enforcing it ! Did his friend, le Mongo, intend to honor this 
draft ? It was properly endorsed, he would see, in favor of the 
bearer ; and if the esclaves were quickly forthcoming, the whole 
affair would pass off as agreeably and quickly as the bubbles from 
a champagne glass. 

By this time Ormond was so perfectly stupified by drink, as 
well as the atrocity, that he simply burst into a maudlin laugh, 
when I looked at him for an explanation of the charge. /, 
surely, was not implicated in it ; yet, when I demanded the 
cause of the assault upon Tuy person, in connection with the 
affair, Brulot replied, with a shrug, that as I was Ormond's clerk 
when the note was signed, I must have had a finger in the pie ; 
and, inasmuch as I now possessed a factory of my own, it would 
doubtless be delightful to aid my ancient patron in the liquida- 
tion of a debt that I knew to be lawful. 

It was altogether useless to deny my presence in the factory, 
or knowledge of the transaction, which, in truth, had occurred 
long before my arrival on the Rio Pongo, during the clerkship 
of my predecessor. Still, I insisted on immediate release. An 
hour flew by in useless parley. But the Frenchman was firm, 
and swore that nothing would induce him to liberate either of us 
without payment of the bill. While we were talking, a crowd 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 193 

of canoes was seen shoving ofiF from Bangalang, filled with armed 
men ; whereupon the excited Gaul ordered his men to quarters, 
and double-shotted his guns. 

As the first boat came within striking distance, a ball was 
fired across her bows, which not onh^ sent back the advance, but 
made the entire fleet tack ship and steer homeward in dismay. 
Soon after, however, I heard the war-drum beating in Bangalang, 
and could see the natives mustering in great numbers along the 
river banks ; yet, what could undisciplined savages efi'ect against 
the skinned teeth of our six-pounders ? At sunset, liQwever, my 
clerk came off, with a white flag, and the captain allowed him to 
row alongside to receive our orders in his presence. Ormond 
was not yet in a state to consult as to our appropriate means of 
rescue from the trickster's clutches ; so I directed the young 
man to return in the morning with changes of raiment; but, in 
the mean while, to desire the villagers of both settlements to 
refrain from interference in our behalf An excellent meal, with 
abundance of claret, was served for our entertainment, and, on a 
capital mattress, we passed a night of patient endurance in our 
iron stockings. 

At daylight, water and towels were served for our refresh- 
ment. After cofi"ee and cigars w^ere placed on the board, Brulot 
put by his sarcasm, and, in an ofi"-hand fashion, demanded whe- 
ther we had come to our senses and intended to pay the debt ? 
My Italian blood was in a fever, and I said nothing. Ormond, 
however, — now entirely sober, and who was enjoying a cigar 
with the habitual insoucia7ice of a mulatto, — replied quietly that 
he could make no promises or arrangements whilst confined ou 
board, but if allowed to go ashore, he would fulfil his obligation 
in two or three days. An hour was spent by the Frenchman in 
pondering on the proposal ; when it was finally agreed that the 
Mongo should be set at liberty, provided he left, as hostages, 
four of his children and two of the black chiefs who visited him 
in my boat. The compact was sealed by the hoisting of a flag 
under the discharge of a blank cartridge ; and, in an hour, the 
pledges were in the cabin, under the eye of a sentry, while the 
Mongo was once more in Bangalang. 
9 



194 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

These negotiations, it will be perceived, did not touch 7?iy 
case, though I was in no manner guilty ; yet I assented to the 
proposal because I thought that Ormond would be better able 
than myself to find the requisite number of slaves at that mo- 
ment. I ordered my clerk, however, to press all the indifferent 
and useless servants in my factory, and to aid the Mongo with 
every slave at present in my harracoon. 

Before sunset of that da}^, this young man came aboard with 
fifty negroes from my establishment, and demanded my release. 
It was refused. Next day forty more were despatched by the 
Mongo ; but still my liberty was denied. I upbraided the 
scoundrel with his meanness, and bade him look out for the day 
of retribution. But he snapped his fingers at my threat as he 
exclaimed : " Cher ami, ce 'tVest que la fortune de guerre ! " 

It was a task of difficulty to collect the remaining one hua- 
dred and ten slaves among factories which had been recently 
drained by Cuban vessels. Many domestic menials escaped to 
the forest when the story became known, as they did not wish to 
take the place of their betters in the " French service." 

Thrice had the sun risen and set since I was a prisoner. 
During all the time, my blood tingled for revenge. I was 
tricked, humbled and disgraced. Never did I cease to pray for 
the arrival of some well armed Spanish slaver ; and, towards 
evening of the fourth day, lo ! the boon was granted ! That 
afternoon, a boat manned by negroes, passed with the Span- 
ish flag ; but, as there was no white man aboard, Brulot took it 
for a ruse of the Mongo, designed to alarm him into an uncon- 
ditional release of his captives. 

I must do the Gaul the justice to declare, that during my 
confinement, he behaved like a gentleman, in supplies from the 
pantry and spirit room. Neither was he uncivil or unkind in his 
general demeanor. Indeed, he several times regretted that this 
was the only means in his power " to collect a promissory note 
on the coast of Africa ; " yet, I was not Christian enough to 
sympathize with the sherifl", or to return his compliments with 
any thing but a curse. But, now that a Spaniard was within 
hail, I felt a sudden lifting of the weight that was on my heart. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 195 

I shouted for champagne ! The steward brought it with alac- 
rity, and poured with trembling hand the bumpers I drained to 
Saint Jago and old Spain. The infection soou spread. They 
began to believe that a rescue was at hand. The news was 
heard with dismay in the forecastle. Brulot alone stood obsti- 
nate, but indecisive. 

Presently, I called him to join me in a glass, and, as we 
drank the foaming liquid, I pledged him to another " within 
twenty-four hours beneath the Spanish flag." The Gaul feigned 
a sort of hectic hilarity as he swallowed the wine and the toast, 
but he could not stand the flash of revenge in my eye and burn- 
inir cheek, and retired to consult with his officers. 



196 



CHAPTEE XXVII. ' 

I SLEPT soundly that nigbt ; but the sun was not clear of the 
forest when I hobbled on deck in my shackles, and was searching 
the seaward horizon for my beloved Castilian. Presently the 
breeze began to freshen, and the tall, raking masts of a schooner 
were seen gliding above the tops of the mangroves that masked 
the Eio Pongo's mouth. Very soon the light wind and tide 
drifted her clear of the bends, and an anchor was let go within 
musket-shot of my prison, while springs were run out to the 
bushes to give range to her broadside. I saw at once, from her 
manoeuvres, that Ormond had communicated with the craft dur- 
ing the night. 

Brulot felt that his day was over. The Spaniard's decks 
were crowded with an alert, armed crew ; four charming little 
bull-dogs showed their muzzles from port holes ; while a large 
brass swivel, amidships, gave token of its readiness to fight or 
salute. For a minute or two the foiled Frenchman surveyed the 
scene through his glass ; then, throwing it over his shoulder, 
ordered the mate to strike off my " darbies." As the officer 
obeyed, a voice was heard from the Spaniard, commanding a 
boat to be sent aboard, under penalty of a shot if not instantly 
obeyed. The boat was lowered ; but who would man her ? The 
chief officer refused ; the second declined ; the French sailors 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 197 

objected ; the Creoles and mulattoes from St. Thomas went 
below ; so that no one was left to fulfil the slaver's order but 
Brulot or myself. 

'' Bie?i ! " said my crest-fallen cock, " it's your turn to crow, 
Don Teodore. Fortune seems on your side, and you are again 
free. Go to the devil, if you please, mon camarade^ and send 
your imps for the slaves as soon as you want them ! " 

By this time the Spaniard had lighted his matches, levelled 
his guns, and, under the aim of his musketry, repeated the order 
for a boat. Seeing the danger of our party, I leaped to the bul- 
warks, and hailing my deliverer in Spanish, bade him desist. 
The request was obeyed as I threw myself into the yawl, cut the 
rope, and, alone, sculled the skiflf to the slaver. 

A shout went up from the deck of my deliverer as I jumped 
aboard and received the cordial grasp of her commander. Ali- 
Ninpha, too, was there to greet and defend me with a chosen 
band of his people. While I was absorbed in the joy of wel- 
come and liberation, the African stole with his band to the 
Frenchman's boat, and was rapidly filling it to board the foe, 
when my clerk apprised me of the impending danger. I was 
fortunate enough lo control the enraged savage, else I know not 
what might have been the fate of Brulot and the ofiicers during 
the desertion of his mongrel and cowardly crew. 

The captain desired his mates to keep an eye on the Gaul 
while we retired to the cabin for consultation ; and here I 
learned that I was on board the " Esperanza," consigned to me 
from Matanzas. In turn, I confii-med the account they had 
already heard of my mishap from the Mongo's messengers ; but 
hoped the Cuban captain would permit me to take pacific revenge 
after my own fashion, inasmuch as my captor — barring the irons 
— had behaved with uncommon civility. I had no trouble, of 
course, in obtaining the commander's assent to this request, 
though he yielded it under the evident displeasure of his crew, 
whose Spanish blood was up against the Frenchman, and would 
willingly have inflicted a signal puni&hment on this neutral 
ground. 

After these preliminaries, Captain Escudero and myself re- 



198 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

turned to the '• La Perouse " with two boat-loads of armed fol- 
lowers, while our approach was covered by the cannons and small 
arms of the " Esperanza." Brulot received us in moody silence 
on the quarter-deck. His officers sat sulkily on a gun to lee- 
ward, while two or three French seamen walked to and fro on 
the forecastle. 

My jQrst command was to spike the vessel's guns. Next, I 
decreed and superintended the disembarkation of the stolen 
slaves ; and, lastly, I concluded the morning call with a request 
that Brulot would 'produce the jive hundred doubloons and his 
^'' IDTomissory note'''' for two hundred slaves I 

The fatal document, duly indorsed, was quickly delivered, 
but no persuasion or threat induced the angry Gaul to show 
his gold, or a manifest of the cargo. 

After ample indulgence, I despatched a man to seek his 
writing-desk, and discovered that six hundred doubloons had 
ill reality been shipped in St. Thomas. Of course, their produc- 
tion was imperiously demanded ; but Brulot swore they had 
been landed, with his supercargo, in the neighboring Rio Nunez. 
I was near crediting the story, when a slight sneer I perceived 
flickering over the steward's face, put me on the qui vive to request 
an inspection of the log-book, which, unfortunately for my cap- 
tor, did not record the disembarkation of the cash. This demon- 
strated Brulot's falsehood, and authorized a demand for his trunk. 
The knave winced as the steward descended to bring it ; and he 
leaped with rage as I split it with a hatchet, and counted two 
hundred and fifty Mexican doubloons on the deck. His ca,rgo^ 
however^ proved to he a sham of samples. 

Turning innocently to Escudero, I remarked that he must 
have been put to considerable trouble in rescuing me from this 
outlaw, and hoped he would suffer his men to be recompensed 
for their extra toil under the rays of an African sun. I would 
not venture to judge the value of such devoted services ; but 
requested him to fix his own price and receive payment on the 
spot. 

Escudero very naturally supposed that ahout two hundred 
and fifty Mexican ounces would compensate him to a fraction, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 199 

and, accordingly, the two hundred and fifty shiners, glistening on 
the deck, forthwith returned to their bag and went overboard into 
his boat. 

" Adieu ! mon cher^^ said I, as I followed the gold ; " la 
fortune de guerre has many phases, you see ; how do you like 
this one ? The next game you play on the coast of Africa, my 
chicken, recollect that though a knave can take a trick, yet the 
knave may be trumped before the hand is played out I " 



2oe 



CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 



La Esperanza discharged her cargo rapidly, but, before I was 
ready to send back a living freight, poor Escudero fell a victim 
to African fever. 

I had seen much of the country ; I had made some money ; 
my clerk was a reliable fellow ; I was growing somewhat anxious 
for a change of scene ; and, in fact, I only wanted a decent ex- 
cuse to find myself once more aboard a " skimmer of the seas," 
for a little relaxation after the oppressive monotony of a slaver's 
life. Escudero's death seemed to offer the desired opportunity. 
His mate was an inexperienced seaman ; his oflBcers were unac- 
quainted with the management of a slave cargo ; and, upon a 
view of the whole field of interests, I thought it best to take 
charge of the schooner and pay a visit to my friends in Cuba. 
In the mean time, however, a Danish brig arrived for negroes, 
so that it became necessary for me, with my multiplied duties, 
to bestir myself in the collection of slaves. 

Whilst I was dining one afternoon at Ormond's factory with 
the Danish captain of the trader, the boom of a gun, followed 
rapidly by two or three more, announced the arrival of another 
craft. We drank a toast to his advent, and were beginning to 
condole a little over our difficulty in procuring blacks, when the 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 201 

look-out ran into our room with the report that my Spaniard 
vras firing into the Dane. "We rushed to the piazza whence the 
scene of action might be beheld, and another shot from my ves- 
sel seemed to indicate that she was the aggressor. The Dane 
and myself hurried aboard our respective schooners, but when I 
reached the Esperanza, my crew were weighing anchor, while the 
quarter-deck was strewn with fire-arms. The mate stood on the 
heel of the bowsprit, urging his men to alacrity ; the sailors hove 
at the windlass with mingled shouts of passion and oaths of 
revenge ; on a mattress lay the bleeding form of my second offi- 
cer, while a seaman groaned beside him with a musket ball in 
his shoulder. 

My arrival was the signal for a pause. As quickl}^ as possi- 
ble, I inquired into the affray, which had originated like many a 
sailor's dispute, on a question of precedence at the watering 
place in a neighboring brook. The Danes were seven, and we 
but three. Our Spaniards had been driven off, and my second 
mate, in charge of the yawl, received a trenchant blow from an 
oar-blade, which cut his skull and felled him senseless on the 
Band. 

Of course, " the watering " was over for the day, and both 
boats returned to their vessels to tell their stories. The mo- 
ment the Danes got on board, they imprudently ran up their 
ensign ; and, as this act of apparent defiance occurred just as tlie 
Esperanza was receiving the lifeless form of her ofiicer, my ex- 
cited crew discharged a broadside in reply to the warlike token. 
Gun followed gun, and musketry rattled against musketry. The 
Dane miscalculated the range of the guns, and his grape fell 
short of my schooner, while our snarling sixes made sad havoc 
with his bulwarks and rigging. 

I had hardly learned the facts of the case and thought of a 
truce, when the passionate Northman sent a round-shot whistling 
over my head. Another and another followed in its wake, but 
they aimed too high for damage. At twenty-four our blood is 
not so diplomatically pacific as in later years, and this second 
aggression rekindled the lava in my Italian veins. There was 
no longer question of a white flag or a parley. In a twinkling, 
9* 



202 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

I slipped my cable and ran up the jib and mainsail, so as to 
swing the schooner into a raking position at short quarters ; and 
before the Dane could counteract my manoeuvre, I gave him a 
dose of gi-ape and cannister which tore his ensign to ribbons and 
spoiled the looks of his hull materially. My second shot splin- 
tered the edge of his mast ; but while I was making ready for a 
third, to tickle him betwixt wind and water, down tumbled his 
impertinent pendant and the day was won. 

For a while there was a dead silence between the warriors. 
Neither hailed nor sent a boat on board of the other. Ormond 
perceived this cessation of hostilities from his piazza at Banga- 
lang, and coming out in a canoe, rowed to the Dane after hear- 
ing my version of the battle. 

I waited anxiously either for his return or a message, but as 
I was unadvised of the Mongo's views and temper in regard to 
the affray, I thought it well, before dark, to avoid treachery by 
quitting the river and placing my schooner in a creek with her 
broadside to the shore. Special charge was then given to the 
mate and men to be alert all night long ; after which, I went 
on shore to protect the rear by placing my factory in a state 
of defence. 

But my precautions were needless. At daylight the guard 
brought us news of the Dane's departure, and when I descended 
the river to Bangalang, Ormond alleged that the slaver had 
sailed for Sierra Leone to seek succor either from a man-of-war 
or the British government. 

It may be supposed that I was not so " green " in Africa as 
to believe this story. No vessel, equipped for a slave cargo, 
would dare to enter the imperial colony. Yet the Northman 
had bitter cause for grief and anger. His vessel was seriously 
harmed by my grape-shot ; his carpenter was slain during the 
action ; and three of his seaman were lingering with desperate 
wounds. In a few days, however, he returned to the Rio Pongo 
from his airing on the x\tlantic, where his wrath had probably 
been somewhat cooled by the sea-breeze. His craft was anchored 
higher up the river than my Spaniard, and thus our crews avoided 
intercourse for the future. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 203 

But this was not the case with the captains. The Mongo's 
table was a sort of neutral ground, at which we met with cold 
salutations but without conversation. Ormond and the Dane, 
however, became exceedingly intimate. Indeed, the mulatto 
appeared to exhibit a degree of friendship for the Margaritan 
I had never seen him bestow on any one else. This singularity, 
together with his well-known insincerity, put me on my guard to 
watch his proceedings with increased caution. 

Personal observation is always a safe means of self-assurance ; 
yet I have sometimes found it to be " a way of the world," — 
not to be altogether scorned or disregarded, — to purcJiase the 
good will of " confidential " persons. Accordingly, I made it 
" worth the while " of Ormond's body-servant to sift the secret 
of this sudden devotion ; and in a few days the faithless slave, 
who spoke English remarkably well, told me that the Dane, by 
dint of extra pay and the secret delivery of all his spare pro- 
visions and the balance of his cargo, had induced the Mongo 
to promise the delivery of his slaves before mine. 

Now, Ormond, by a specific contract, — made and paid for 
before the Dane's arrival, — owed me two hundred negroes on 
account of the Esperanza's cargo. The Dane knew this per- 
fectly, but my severe chastisement rankled in his heart, and made 
him seek revenge in the most effectual way on the coast of Africa. 
He was bent upon depriving me of one hundred negroes, in the 
hands of Mr. Ormond. 

I said nothing of my discovery, nor did I make any remarks 
on the astonishiog love that existed between these Siamese twins; 
still, I kept my eye on Ormond's barracoon until I found his 
stock had gradually augmented to three hundred. Thereupon, 
I dropped in one morning unceremoniously, and, in a gentle 
voice, told him of his treacherous design. My ancient patron 
was so degraded by debauchery, that he not only avoided a pas- 
sionate outburst when I made the charge, but actually seemed 
to regard it as a sort of capital joke, or recompense for the dam- 
age I had inflicted on the Dane ! We did not dream of arguing 
the propriety or impropriety of his conduct ; nor did I think of 
upbraiding him with baseness, as I would have done any one 



204 CAPTAIN CANOT : OR, 

wbo had dipped only his finger-tips in fraud. Still, ever and 
anon, I saw a glimmer of former spirit in the wretch, and thought 
I would attempt a counter-mine of interest, which Ormond might 
probably understand and grasp. I resolved, in fact, to outbid 
the Dane, for I thought I possessed a card that could take him. 
Accordingly, I offered to surrender a bond for one hundred slaves 
he owed me on account of the Esperanza ; I promised, moreover, 
one hundred and fifty negroes, to be delivered that evening. — and 
I tendered BruloVs promissoiy note for' the missing two hun- 
dred darkies^ — if he would pledge himself to load the Dane 
during the succeeding night ! 

Ormond took the hint like tinder, and grasped my hand on the 
bargain. The Dane was ordered to prepare his vessel to receive 
cargo without delay, and was specially desired to drop down 
about fifteen miles towards the har^ so as to he off the moment his 
slaves were under hatches ! 

For the next six hours there was not a busier bee on the Rio 
Pongo than Don Teodore. My schooner was put in ship-shape 
for cargo. The mate was ordered to have his small arras and 
cutlasses in perfect condition. Our pivot gun was double-loaded 
with chain-shot. My factory was set in order, and written direc- 
tions given the clerk in anticipation of a four months' absence. 
Ali-Ninpha was put in charge of the territorial domain, while 
my Spaniard was intrusted with the merchandise. 

It was encouraging to see, in the course of the afternoon, that 
my northern rival had swallowed the bait, for he borrowed a 
kedge to aid him, as he said, in descending the river against the 
tide, in order to ^^ get a better bertli?'' He found the trees and 
air uncomfortable sixteen miles from the bar, and wanted to 
approach it to be " nearer the sea-breeze ! " The adroitness of 
his excuse made me laugh in my sleeve, as the clumsy trickster 
shot past me with his sails unbent. 

Well, — night came on, with as much darkness as ever robes 
the starlit skies of Africa when the moon is obscured. My long 
boat was quickly filled with ten men, armed with pistol and cat- 
lass ; and in a short time, the canoes from Bangalang hove in sight 
with their sable burden. I boarded the first one myself, com- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 205 

manding the rowers to pull for my Spaniard. The second was 
seized by the mate, who followed in my wake. The third, fourth, 
fifth and sixth, shared the same fate in rapid succession ; so 
that, in an hour, three hundred and seventy-five negroes were 
safe beneath the Esperanza's deck. Thereupon, T presented the 
headman of each canoe a document acknowledging the receipt of 
his slaves, and ivrotc an order on the Mongo in favor of the 
Dane, for the full amount of tJte darkies I had borrowed ! 

The land wind sprang up and the tide turned when daylight 
warned me it was time to be off; and, as I passed the Dane 
snugly at anchor just inside the bar, I called all hands to give 
three cheers, and to wish him happiness in the " enjoyment of 
his sea-breeze." 



206 CAPTAIN CANOT j OR, 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

When the land breeze died away, it fell entirely calm, and the 
sea continued an unruffled mirror for three days, during which 
the highlands remained in sight, like a faint cloud in the east. 
The glaring sky and the reflecting ocean acted and reacted on 
each other until the air glowed like a furnace. Daring night a 
dense fog enveloped the vessel with its clammy folds. When 
the vapor lifted on the fourth morning, our look-out announced 
a sail from the mast-head, and every eye was quickly sweeping 
the landward horizon in search of the stranger. Our spies along 
the beach had reported the coast clear of cruisers when I sailed, 
so that I hardly anticipated danger from men-of-war ; neverthe- 
less, we held it discreet to avoid intercourse, and accordingly, 
our double-manned sweeps were rigged out to impel us slowly 
towards the open ocean. Presently, the mate went aloft with 
his glass, and, after a deliberate gaze, exclaimed : " It is only 
the Dane, — I see his flag." At this my crew swore they would 
sooner fight than sweep in such a latitude ; and, with three 
cheers, came aft to request that I would remain quietly where I 
was until the Northman overhauled us. 

We made so little headway with oars that I thought the dif- 
ference trifling, whether we pulled or were becalmed. Perhaps, 
it might be better to keep the hands fresh, if a conflict proved 
inevitable. I passed quickly among the men, with separate in- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 207 

quiries as to their readiness for battle, and found all — from the 
boy to the mate — anxious, at every hazard, to do their duty. 
Our breakfast was as cold as could be served in such a climate, 
but I made it palatable with a case of claret. 

When a sail on the coast of Africa heaves in sight of a slaver^ 
it is always best for the imperilled craft, especially if gifted with 
swift hull and spreading wings, to take flight without the courte- 
sies that are usual in mercantile sea-life. At the present day, 
fighting is, of course, out of the question, and the valuable prize 
is abandoned by its valueless owners. At all times, however, — 
and as a guard against every risk, whether the cue be to fight or 
fly, — the prudent slaver, as soon as he finds himself in the neigh- 
borhood of unwholesome canvas, puts out his fire, nails his fore- 
castle, sends his negroes below, and secures the gratings over his 
hatches. 

All these preparations were quietly made on board the Espe- 
ranza ; and, in addition, I ordered a supply of small arms and 
ammunition on deck, where they were instantly covered with 
blaukets. Every man was next stationed at his post, or where 
he might be most serviceable. The cannons were sponged and 
loaded with care ; and, as I desired to deceive our new acquaint- 
ance, I ran up the Portuguese flag. The calm still continued as 
the day advanced ; — indeed, I could not perceive a breath of air 
by our dog-vane, which veered from side to side as the schooner 
rolled slowly on the lazy swell. The stranger did not approach, 
nor did we advance. There we hung — 

"A painted ship upon a painted ocean ! " 

I cannot describe the fretful anxiety which vexes a mind under 
such circumstances. Slaves below ; a blazing sun above ; the 
boiling sea beneath ; a withering air around ; decks piled with 
materials of death; escape unlikely; a phantom in chase behind; 
the ocean like an unreachable eternity before ; uncertainty every 
where ; and, within your skull, a feverish mind, harassed by 
doubt and responsibility, yet almost craving for any act of des- 
peration that will remove the spell. It is a living night-mare, 
from which the soul pants to be free. 



208 

With torments like these, I paced the deck for half an hour 
beneath the awning, when, seizing a telescope and mounting the 
rigging, I took deliberate aim at the annojer. He was full 
seven or eight miles away from us, but very soon I saw, or fan- 
cied I saw, a row of ports, which the Dane had not : then sweep- 
ing the horizon a little astern of the craft, I distinctly made out 
three boats, fully manned, making for us with ensigns flying. 

Anxious to avoid a panic, I descended leisurely, and ordered 
the sweeps to be spread once more in aid of the breeze, which, 
within the last ten minutes, had freshened enough to fan us along 
about a knot an hour. Next, I imparted my discovery to the 
officers ; and, passing once more among the men to test their 
nerves, I said it was likely they would have to encounter an 
angrier customer than the Dane. In fact, I frankly told them 
our antagonist was unquestionably a British cruiser of ten or 
twelve guns, from whose clutches there was no escape, unless we 
repulsed the boats. 

I found my crew as confident in the face of augmented risk 
as they had been when we expected the less perilous Dane. 
Collecting their votes for fight or surrender, I learned that all 
hut two were in favor of resistance. I had no doubt in regard 
to the rtiates^ in our approaching trials. 

By this time the breeze had again died away to utter calm- 
ness, while the air was so still and fervent that our sweltering 
men almost sank at the sweeps. I ordered them in, threw over- 
board several water-casks that encumbered the deck, and hoisted 
our boat to the stern-davits to prevent boarding in that quarter. 
Things were perfectly ship-shape all over the schooner, and I 
congratulated myself that her power had been increased by two 
twelve pound carronades, the ammunition, and part of the crew 
of a Spanish slaver, abandoned on the bar of Bio Pongo a week 
before my departure. We had in all three guns, and abundance 
of musketry, pistoh and cutlasses, to be wielded and managed 
by thirty-seven hands. 

By this time the British boats, impelled by oars alone, 
approached within half a mile, while the breeze sprang up in 
cat's-paws all round the eastern horizon, but without fanning us 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 209 

with a single breath. Taking advantage of one of these slants, 
the cruiser had followed her boats, but now, about five miles off, 
was again as perfectly becalmed as we had been all day. Pre- 
sently, I observed the boats converge within the range of my 
swivel, and lay on their oars as if for consultation. I seized this 
opportunity, while the enemy was huddled together, to give him 
the first welcome ; and, slewing the schooner round with my 
sweeps, I sent him a shot from my swivel. But the ball passed 
over their heads, while, with three cheers, they separated, — the 
largest boat making directly for our waist, while the others steered 
to cross our bow and attack our stern. 

During the chase my weapons, with the exception of the pivot 
gun, were altogether useless, but I kept a couple of sweeps 
ahead and a couple astern to play the schooner, and employed 
that loud-tongued instrument as the foe approached. The larger 
boat, bearing a small carronade, was my best target, yet we con- 
trived to miss each other completely until my sixth discharge, 
when a double headed shot raked the whole bank of starboard 
oar-blades, and disabled the rowers by the severe concussion. 
This paralyzed the launch's advance, and allowed me to devote 
my exclusive attention to the other boats; yet, before I could 
bring the schooner in a suitable position, a signal summoned the 
assailants aboard the cruiser to repair damages. I did not 
reflect until this moment of reprieve, that, early in the day, I 
had hoisted the Portuguese ensign to deceive tli.e Dane, and 
imprudently left it aloft in the presence of John Bull ! I struck 
the false flag at once, unfurled the Spanish, and refreshing the 
men with a double allowance of grog and grub, put them 
again to the sweeps. When the cruisers reached their vessels, 
the men instantly re-embarkcd, while the boats were allowed to 
swing alongside, which convinced me tliat the assanlt would be 
renewed as soon as the rum and roast-beef of Old England had 
strengthened the heart of the adversary. Accordingly, noon had 
not long passed when our pursuers again embarked. Once more 
they approached, divided as before, and again we exchanged 
ineffectual shots. I kept them at bay with grape and musketry 
until near three o'clock, when a second signal of retreat was 



210 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

hoisted on the cruiser, and answered by exultant vivas from my 
crew. It grieved me, I confess, not to mingle my voice with 
these shouts, for I was sure that the lion retreated to make a 
better spring, nor was I less disheartened when the mate reported 
that nearly all the ammunition for our cannons was exhausted. 
Seven kegs of powder were still in the magazine, though not 
more than a dozen rounds of grape, cannister, or balls, remained 
in the locker. There was still an abundance of cartridges for 
pistols and musketry, but these were poor defences against reso- 
lute Englishmen whose blood was up and who would unques- 
tionably renew the charge with reinforcements of vigorous men. 
Fore and aft, high and low, we searched for missiles. Musket 
balls were crammed in bags ; bolts and nails were packed in 
cartridge paper ; slave shackles were formed with rope yarns 
into chain-shot ; and, in an hour, we were once more tolerably 
prepared to pepper the foe. 

When these labors terminated, I turned my attention to the 
relaxed crew, portions of whom refused wine, and began to sulk 
about the decks. As yet only two had been slightly scratched 
by spent musket balls ; but so much discontent began to appear 
among the passenger-sailors of the wrecked slaver, that my own 
hands could with difficulty restrain them from revolt. I felt 
much difficulty in determining how to act, but I had no time for 
deliberation. Violence was clearly not my role, but persuasion 
was a delicate game in such straits among men whom I did not 
command with the absolute authority of a master. I cast my 
eye over the taffrail, and seeing that the British boats were still 
afar, I followed my first impulse, and calling the whole gang to 
the quarter-deck, tried the effect of African palaver and Spanish 
gold. I spoke of the perils of capture and of the folly of sur- 
rendering a slaver while there was the slightest hope of escape. 
I painted the unquestionable result of being taken after such re- 
sistance as had already been made. I drew an accurate picture 
of a tall and dangerous instrument on which piratical gentlemen 
have sometimes been known to terminate their lives ; and finally, 
I attempted to improve the rhythm of my oratory by a couple of 
golden ounces to each combatant, and the promise of a slave 
apiece at the end of our successful voyage 



TWENTY YEARS OF AX AFPICAN SLAVER. 211 

M}' suspense was terrible, as there, — on the deck of a slaver, 
amid calm, heat, battle, and mutiny, with a volcano of three hun- 
dred and seventy five imprisoned devils below me, — I awaited a 
reply, which, favorable or unfavorable, I must hear without emo- 
tion. Presently, three or four came forward and accepted my 
offer. I shrugged my shoulders, and took half a dozen turns up 
and down the deck. Then, turning to the crowd, I doubled my 
bounty^ and offering a boat to take the recusants on board the 
enemy, swore that I would stand by the Esparanza with my un- 
aided crew in spite of the dastards ! 

The offensive word with which I closed the harangue seemed 
to touch the right string of the Spanish guitar, and in an instant 
I saw the dogged heads spring up with a jerk of mortified pride, 
while the steward and cabin-boy poured in a fresh supply of 
wine, and a shout of union went up from both divisions. I lost 
no time in confirming my converts ; and, ramming down my elo- 
quence with a wad of doubloons, ordered every n^an to his post, 
for the enemy was again in motion. 

But he did not come alone. New actors had appeared on the 
scene during my engagement with the crew. The sound of the 
cannonade had licen heard, it seems, by a consort of his Britannic 
Majesty's brig ****** and, although the battle was not 
within her field of vision, she despatched another squadron of 
boats under the guidance of the reports that boomed through the 
silent air. 

The first division of my old assailants was considerably in ad- 
vance of the reinforcement ; and, in perfect order, approached us 
in a solid body, with the apparent determination of boarding on 
the same side. Accordingly, I brought all my weapons and 
hands to that quarter, and told both gunners and musketeers not 
to fire without orders. Waiting their discharge, I allowed them 
to get close; but the commander of the launch seemed to antici- 
pate my plan by the reservation of his fire till he could draw 
mine, in order to throw his other boat-loads on board under the 



* It will be understood by the reader, hereafter, Avhy I omit tho 
cruiser's name. 



212 CAPTAIN canot; or,- 

gmoke of his swivel and small arms. It was odd to witness cup 
mutual forbearance, nor could I help laughing, even in the midst 
of danger, at the mutual checkmate we were trying to prepare. 
However, my Britons did not avoid pulling, though they omit- 
ted firing, so that they were already rather perilously close when 
I thought it best to give them the contents of my pivot, which I 
had crammed almost to the muzzle with bolts and bullets. The 
discharge paralyzed the advance, while my carronades flung a 
quantity of grape into the companion boats. In turn, however, 
they plied us so deftly with balls from swivels and musketry, 
that five of our most valuable defenders writhed in death on the 
deck. 

The rage of battle at closer quarters than heretofore, and the 
screams of bleeding comrades beneath their feet, roused to its 
fullest extent the ardent nature of my Spanish crew. They tore 
their garments ; stripped to their waists ; called for rum ; and 
swore they would die rather than yield ! 

By this time the consort's reinforcement was rapidly ap- 
proaching; and, with hurrah after hurrah, the five fresh boats! 
came on in double column. As they drew within shot, each 
cheer was followed with a fatal volley, under which several more 
of our combatants were prostrated, while a glancing musket balll 
lacerated my knee with a painful wound. For five minutes we 
met this onset with cannon, muskets, pistols, and enthusiastic 
shouts ; but in the despairing confusion of the hour, the captain 
of our long gun rammed home his ball before the powder, so that 
when the priming burnt, the most reliable of our weapons was 
silent for ever ! At this moment a round shot from the launch 
dismounted a carronade ; — our ammunition was wasted ; — and in 
this disabled state, the Britons prepared to board our crippled 
craft. Muskets, bayonets, pistols, swords, and knives, for a 
space kept them at bay, even at short (quarters ; but the crowded 
boats tumbled their enraged fighters over our forecastle like 
surges from the sea, and, cutlass in hand, the victorious furies 
swept every thing before them. The cry was to " spare no one ! " 
Down went sailor after sailor, struggling with the frenzied pas- 
Bion of despair. Presently an order went forth to split the grat- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 213 

ings and release the slaves. I clung to my post and cheered the 
battle to the last ; but when I heard this fatal command, which, 
if obeyed, might bury assailant and defender in common ruin, I 
ordered the remnant to throw down their arms, while I struck 
the flag and warned the rash and testy Englishman to beware. 

The senior officer of the boarding party belonged to the divi- 
sion from the cruiser's consort. As he reached the deck, his cle- 
ment eye fell sadly on the scene of blood, and he commanded 
"quarter" immediately. It was time. The excited boarders from 
the repulsed boats had mounted T)ur deck brimming with revenge. 
Every one that opposed was cut down without mercy ; and in an- 
other moment, it is likely I would have joined the throng of the 
departed. 

All was over ! There was a hushed and panting crowd of 
victors and vanquished on the bloody deck, when the red ball of 
the setting sun glared through a crimson haze and filled the mo- 
tionless sea with li(|uid fire. For the first time that day I be- 
came sensible of personal sufi'erings. A stifling sensation made 
me gasp for air as I sat down on the taftrail of my captured 
schooner, and felt that I was — a prisoner ! 



214 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTER XXX. 

After a brief pause, the commanding officers of both divisions 
demanded my papers, which, while I acknowledged myself his 
prisoner, I yielded to the senior personage who had humanely 
stopped the massacre. I saw that this annoyed -the other, whom 
I had so frequently repulsed ; yet I thought the act fair as well as 
agreeable to my feelings, for I considered my crew competent to 
resist iho first division successfully^ had it not been succored by 
the consort's boats. 

But my decision was not submitted to by the defeated leader 
without a dispute, which was conducted with infinite harshness, 
until the senior ended the quarrel by ordering his junior to tow 
the prize within reach of the corvette * * * *. My boat, 
though somewhat riddled with balls, was lowered, and I was 
commanded to go on board the captor, with my papers and ser- 
vant under the escort of a midshipman. The captain stood at 
the gangway as I approached, and, seeing my bloody knee, 
ordered me not to climb the ladder, but to be hoisted on deck 
and sent below for the immediate care of my wound. It was 
hardly miore than a severe laceration of flesh, yet was quite 
enough to prevent me from bending my knee, though it did not 
deny locomotion with a stiff leg. 

The dressing over, — during which I had quite a pleasant chat 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 215 

with the amiable surgeon, — I was summoned to the cabin, where 
numerous questions were put, all of which I answered frankly 
and truly. Thirteen of my crew were slain, and nearly all the 
rest wounded. My papers were next inspected, and found to be 
Spanish. " How was it, then," exclaimed the commander, " that 
you fought under the Portuguese flag ? " 

Here was the question I always expected, and for which I 
had in vain taxed my wit and ingenuity to supply a reason- 
able excuse ! I had nothing to say for the daring violation of 
nationality ; so I resolved to tell the truth boldly about my dis- 
pute with the Dane, and my desire to deceive him early in the 
day, but I cautiously omitted the adroitness with which I had 
deprived him of his darkies. I confessed that I forgot the flag 
when I found I had a difi"erent foe from the Dane to contend 
with, and I flattered myself with the hope that, had I repulsed 
the first unaided onset, I would have been able to escape with 
the usual sea-breeze. 

The captain looked at me in silence a while, and, in a sorrow- 
ful voice, asked if I was aware that my defence under the Por- 
tuguese ensign, no matter what tempted its use, could only be 
construed as an act of piracy I 

A change of color, an earnest gaze at the floor, compressed 
lips and clenched teeth, were my only replies. 

This painful scrutiny took place before the surgeon, whose 
looks and expressions strongly denoted his cordial sympathy 
with my situation. " Yes," said Captain ****," it is a pity 
fur a sailor who fights as bravely as you have done, in defence 
of what he considers his property, to be condemned for a combi- 
nation of mistakes and forgetfulness. However, let us not has- 
ten matters ; you are hungry and want rest, and, though we are 
navy-men, and on the coast of Africa, we are not savages." I 
was then directed to remain where I was till further orders, 
while my servant came below with an abundant supply of pro- 
visions. The captain went on deck, but the doctor remained. 
Presently, I saw the surgeon and the commander's steward busy 
over a basket of biscuits, meat and bottles, to the handle of 



216 

which a cord, several yards in length, was carefully knotted. 
After this was arranged, the doctor called for a lamp, and un- 
rolling a chart, asked whether I knew the position of the vessel. 
I replied affirmatively, and, at his request, measured the distance, 
and noted the course to the nearest land, which was Cape Verga, 
about thirty-seven miles off. 

" Now, Don Teodore, if I were in your place, with the pros- 
pect of a noose and tight-rope dancing before me, I have not the 
slightest hesitation in saying that I would make an attempt to 
know what Cape Verga is made of before twenty-four hours 
were over my head ! And see, my good fellow, how Providence, 
accident, or fortune favors you ! First of all, your own boat 
hapj)cn$ to be towing astern beneath these very cabin windows ; 
secondly, a basket of provisions, water and brandy, stands packed 
on the transom, almost ready to slip into the boat by itself; 
next, your boy is in the neighborhood to help you with the skiff; 
and, finally, it is pitch dark, perfectly calm, and there isn't a 
sentry to be seen aft the cabin door. Now, good night, my 
clever fighter, and let me never have the happiness of seeing your 
face again ! " 

As he said this, he rose, shaking my hand with the hearty 
grasp of a sailor, and, as he passed my servant, slipped some- 
thing into his pocket, which proved to be a couple of sovereigns. 
Meanwhile, the steward appeared with blankets, which he spread 
on the locker ; and, blowing out the lamp, went on deck with a 
" good night." 

It was very still, and unusually dark. There was dead 
silence in the corvette. Presently, I crawled softly to the stern 
window, and lying flat on my stomach over the transom, peered 
out into night. There, in reality, was my boat towing astern by 
a slack line ! As I gazed, some one on deck above me drew in 
the rope with softest motion, until the skiff lay close under the 
windows. Patiently, slowly, cautiously, — fearing the sound of 
his fall, and dreading almost the rush of my breath in the pro- 
found silence, — I lowered my boy into the boat. The basket 
followed. The negro fastened the boat-hook to the cabin win- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 217 

dow, and on this, lame as I was, I followed the basket. Fortu- 
nately, not a plash, a crack, or a footfall disturbed the silence. 
I looked aloft, and no one was visible on the quarter-deck. A 
slight jerk brought the boat-rope softly into the water, and I 
drifted away into the darkness. 



218 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTEE XXXI. 

I DRIFTED without a word or motion, and almost without breath- 
ing, until the corvette was perfectly obliterated against the hazy 
horizon. When every thing was dark around me, save the guid- 
ing stars, I put out the oars ai^d pulled quietly towards the east. 
At day-dawn I was apparently alone on the ocean. 

My appetite had improved so hugely by the night's exercise, 
that my first devotion was to the basket, which I found crammed 
with bologna sausages, a piece of salt junk, part of a ham, abun- 
dance of biscuit, four bottles of water, two of brandy, a pocket 
compass, a jack-knife, and a large table-cloth or sheet, which the 
generous doctor had no doubt inserted to serve as a sail. 

The humbled slaver and the slave^ for the first time in their 
lives, broke bread from the same basket, and drank from the 
same bottle ! Misfortune had strangely and suddenly levelled us 
on the basis of common humanity. The day before, he was the 
most servile of menials ; to-day he was my equal, and, probably, 
my superior in certain physical powers, without which I would 
have perished ! 

As the sun ascended in the sky, my wound became irritated 
by exercise, and the inflammation produced a feverish torment 
in which I groaned as I lay extended in the stern-sheets. By 
noon a breeze sprang up from the south-west, so that the oars 
and table-cloth supplied a square sail which wafted us about 



TWENTY YEASTS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 219 

three miles an hour, while my boy rigged an awning with the 
blankets and boat-hooks. Thus, half reclining, I steered land- 
ward till midnight, when I took in the sail and lay-to on the 
calm ocean till morning. Next day the breeze again favored us ; 
and, by sundown, I came up with the coasting canoe of a friendly 
Mandingo, into which I at once exchanged my quarters, and fall- 
ing asleep, never stirred till he landed me on the Islands de 
Loss. 

My wound kept me a close and suffering prisoner in a hut on 
the isles for ten days during which I despatched a native canoe 
some thirty-five or forty miles to the Rio Pongo with news of my 
disaster, and orders for a boat with an equipment of comforts. 
As my clerk neglected to send a suit of clothes, I was obliged to 
wear the Mandingo habiliments till I reached my factory, so 
that during my transit, this dress became the means of an odd 
encounter. As I entered the Rio Pongo, a French brigantine 
near the bar was the first welcome of civilization that cheered 
my heart for near a fortnight. Passing her closely, I drifted 
alongside, and begged the commander for a bottle of claret. My 
brown skin, African raiment, and savage companions satisfied the 
skipper that I was a native, so that, with a sneer, he, of course, 
became very solicitous to know " where I drank claret last ? " 
and pointing to the sea, desired me to quench my thirst with 
brine ! 

It was rather hard for a suffering Italian to be treated so 
cavalierly by a Gaul; but I thanked the fellow for his civility in 
such excellent French, that his tone instantly changed, and he 
asked — " aic nom clc Dieu^ where I had learned the language ! " 
It is likely I would have rowed off without detection, had I not 
just then been recognized by one of his officers who visited my 
factory the year before. 

In a moment the captain was in my boat with a bound, and 
grasping my hands with a thousand pardons, insisted I should not 
ascend the river till I had dined with him. He promised a plate 
of capital soup ; — and where, I should like to know, is the son of 
France or Italy who is ready to withstand the seduction of such 
a provocative ? Besides this, he insisted on dressing me from 



220 CAPTAIN CANOT \ OR, 



his scanty wardrobe ; but as he declined all subsequent remune- 
ration, I confined my bodily improvement to a clean shirt and his 
wiry razors. 

While the houillon was bubbling in the coppers, I got an in- 
sight into the condition of Rio Pongo concerns since my departure. 
The Dane was oft after a quarrel with Ormond, who gave him but a 
hundred negroes for his cargo ; and a Spanish brig was waiting 
my arrival, — for the boy I sent home from the Isles de Loss had 
reported my engagement, capture, and escape. 

La soupe sur la table^y^o. attacked a smoking tureen oi bouillon 
gras, while a heaping dLsh of toasted bread stood in the middle. 
The captain loaded my plate with two slices of this sunburnt ma- 
terial, which he deluged with a couple of ladles of savory broth. 
A long fast is a good sauce, and I need not assert that I began 
sa7is fagon. My appetite was sharp, and the vapor of the liquid 
inviting. For a while there was a dead silence, save when 
broken by smacking and relishing lips. Spoonful after spoonful 
was sucked in as rapidly as the heat allowed ; and, indeed, I 
hardly took time to bestow a blessing on the cook. . Being the 
guest of the day, my plate had been the first one served, and 
of course, was the first one finished. Perhaps I rather hurried 
myself, for lenten diet made me greedy and I was somewhat anx- 
ious to anticipate the calls of my companions on the tureen. Ac- 
cordingly, I once more ballasted my plate with toast, and, with 
a charming bow and a civil " sHl vous plait^''^ applied, like Oliver 
Twist, " for more." 

As the captain was helping me to the second ladle, he po- 
litely demanded whether I was " fond of the thick ; " and as I 
replied in the affirmative, he made another dive to the bottom 
and brought up the instrument with a heaping mass in whose cen- 
tre was a diminutive African skull, face upwards, gaping at the 
guests with an infernal grin ! 

My plate fell from my hand at the tureen's edge. The boil- 
ing liquid splashed over the table. I stood fascinated by the hor- 
rible apparition as the captain continued to hold its dreadful 
bones in view. Presently my head swam ; a painful oppression 



1 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 221 

weighed at my heart ; I was ill; and, in a jiffy, the appalling 
spectre was laid beneath the calm waters of the Rio Pongo. 

Before sundown I made a speedy retreat from among the 
anthropophagi ; but all their assurances, oaths, and protes- 
tations, could not satisfy me that the broth did not owe its sub- 
stance to somethino; more human than an African baboon. 



222 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTEK XXXII. 

There was rejoicing that night in Kambia among my people, 
for it is not necessary that a despised slaver should always be 
a cruel master. I had many a friend among the villagers, both 
there and at Bangalang, and when the " barker " came from the 
Isles de Loss with the news of my capture and misery, the settle- 
ment had been keenly astir until it was known that Mongo Teo- 
dore was safe and sound among his protectors. 

I had a deep, refreshing sleep after a glorious bath. Poor 
Esther stole over the palisades of Bangalang to hear the story 
from my own lips ; and, in recompense for the narrative, gave 
me an account of the river gossip during my adventure. Next 
morning, bright and early, I was again in my boat, sweeping 
along towards the " Feliz" from Matanzas, which was anchored 
within a bowshot of Bangalang. As I rounded a point in sight 
of her, the Spanish flag was run up, and as I touched the deck, 
a dozen cheers and a gun gave token of a gallant reception in 
consequence of my battle with the British, which had been mag- 
nified into a perfect Trafalgar. 

The Feliz was originally consigned to me from Cuba, but in 
my absence from the river her commander thought it best not to 
intrust so important a charge to my clerk, and addressed her to 
Ormond. When my arrival at the Isles de Loss was announced 
on the river, his engagement with the Mongo had neither been 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 223 

entirely completed, nor had any cargo been delivered. Accord- 
ingly, the skipper at once taxed his wit for a contrivance by which 
he could escape the bargain. In Africa such things are some- 
times done with ease on small pretexts, so that when I reached 
Kambia my one-hundred-and-forty-ton brig was ready for her ori- 
ginal consignee. 

I found that remittances in money and merchandise covered 
the value of three hundred and fifty slaves, whom I quickly or- 
dered from different traders ; — but when I applied to the Mongo 
to furnish his share, the gentleman indignantly refused under the 
affront of his recalled assignment. I tried to pacify and persuade 
him ; yet all my efforts were unavailing. Still, the results of this 
denial did not affect the Mongo perso'nally and alone. When a 
factor either declines or is unable to procure trade at an African 
station, the multitude of hangers-on, ragamuffins, servants and 
villagers around him suffer, at least, for a time. They cannot un- 
derstand and are always disgusted when " trade is refused." In 
this case the people of Bangalang seemed peculiarly dissatisfied 
with their Mongo's obstinacy. They accused him of indolent dis- 
regard of their interests. They charged him with culpable neg- 
lect. Several free families departed forthwith to Kambia. His 
brothers, who were always material sufferers in such cases, up- 
braided him with arrogant conceit. His women, headed by Fa- 
timah, — who supplied herself and her companions with abundant 
presents out of every fresh cargo, — rose in open mutiny, and de- 
clared they would run off unless he accepted a share of the con- 
tract. Fatimah was the orator of the harem on this as well as 
on all other occasions of display or grievance, and of course she 
did not spare poor Ormond. Age and drunkenness had made sad 
inroads on his constitution and looks during the last half year. 
His fretful irritability sometimes amounted almost to madness, 
when thirty female tongues joined in the chorus of their le^der's, 
assault. They boldly charged him, singly and in pairs, with every 
vice and fault that injured matrimony habitually denounces; and as 
each item of this abusive litany was screamed in his ears, the chorus 
responded with a deep " amen ! " They boasted of their infidel- 
ities, lauded their lovers, and producing their children, with 
laughs of derision, bade hiu^ pote the astounding resemblance | 



224 CAPTAIN CANOT \ OR, 

The poor Mongo was sorely beset by these African witches, 
and summoned his villagers to subdue the revolt ; but many of 
the town-folks were pets of the girls, so that no one came forth to 
obey his bidding. 

I visited Ormond at his request on the evening of this rebel- 
lion, and found him not only smarting with the morning's insult, 
but so drunk as to be incapable of business. His revengeful eye 
and nervous movements denoted a troubled mind. When our 
hands met, I found the Mongo's cold and clammy. I refused 
wine under a plea of illness ; and when, with incoherent phrases 
and distracted gestures, he declared his willingness to retract 
his refusal and accept a share of the Feliz's cargo, I thought it 
best to adjourn the discussion until the following day. Whilst 
on the point of embarking, I was joined by the faithless servant, 
whom I bribed to aid me in my affair with the Dane, and was 
told that Ormond had drugged the wine in anticipation of my 
arrival! He bade me be wary of the Mongo, who in his pre- 
sence had threatened my life. That morning, he said, while the 
women were upbraiding him, my name had been mentioned by 
one with peculiar favor, — when Ormond burst forth with a tor- 
rent of passion, and accusing me as the cause of all his troubles, 
felled the girl to the earth with his fist. 

That night I was roused by my watchman to see a stranger, 
and found Esther at my gate with three of her companions. 
Their tale was brief. Soon after dark, Ormond entered the 
harem with loaded pistols, in search of Fatimah and Esther ; 
but the wretch was so stupified by liquor and rage, that the 
women had little trouble to elude his grasp and escape from 
Bangalang. Hardly had I bestowed them for the night, when 
another alarm brought the watchman once more to my chamber, 
with the news of Ormond's death. He had shot himself through 
the heart ! 

I was in no mood for sleep after this, and the first streak of 
dawn found me at Bangalang. There lay the Mongo as he fell. 
No one disturbed his limbs or approached him till I arrived. 
He never stirred after the death-wound. 

It seems he must have forgotten that the bottle bad 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 225 

been specially medicated for me, as it was found nearly drained; 
but the last thing distinctly known of him by the people, was his 
murderous entrance into the harem to despatch Esther and Fati- 
mah. Soon after this the crack of a pistol was heard in the gar- 
den ; and there, stretched among the cassava plants, with a loaded 
pistol grasped in his left, and a discharged one at a short dis- 
tance from his right hand, laid Jack Ormond, the mulatto ! His 
left breast was pierced by a ball, the wad of which still clung to 
the bloody orifice. 

Bad as this man was, I could not avoid a sigh for his death. 
He had been my first friend in Africa, and I had forfeited his 
regard through no fault of mine. Besides this, there are so few 
on the coast of Africa in these lonely settlements among the 
mangrove swamps, who have tasted European civilization, and 
can converse like human beings, that the loss even of the worst 
is a dire calamity. Ormond and myself had held each other for 
a long time at- a wary distance ; yet business forced us together 
now and then, and during the truce, we had many a pleasant chat 
and joyous hour that would henceforth be lost for ever. 

It is customary in this part of Africa to make the burial of a 
Mo7igo the occasion of a colungee^ or festival, when all the neigh- 
boring chiefs and relations send gifts of food and beverage for 
the orgies of death. Messengers had been despatched for Or- 
mond's brothers and kinsfolk, so that the native ceremony of in- 
terment was postponed till the third day ; and, in the interval, I 
was desired to make all the preparations in a style befitting the 
suicide's station. Accordingly, I issued the needful orders ; 
directed a deep grave to be dug under a noble cotton-wood tree, 
aloof from the village ; gave the body in charge to women, who 
were to watch it until burial, with cries of sorrow, — and then 
retired to Kambia. 

On the day of obsequies I came back. At noon a salute was 
fired by the guns of the village, which was answered by minute 
guns from the Feliz and my factory. Seldom have I heard a 
sadder sound than the boom of those cannons through the silent 
forest and over the waveless water. 

Presently, all the neighboring chiefs, princes and kings came 
10* 



226 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

in with their retainers, when the body was brought out into the 
shade of a grove, so that all might behold it. Then the proces- 
sion took up its line of march, while the thirty wives of the 
Mongo followed the coffin, clad in rags, their heads shaven, their 
bodies lacerated with burning iron, and filling the air with yells 
and shrieks until the senseless clay was laid in the grave. 

I could find no English prayer-book or Bible in the village, 
from which I might read the service of his church over Ormond's 
remains, but I had never forgotten the Ave Maria and Pater 
Noster I learned when an infant, and, while I recited them 
devoutly over the self-murderer, I could not help thinking they 
were even more than sufficient for the savage surroundings. 

The brief prayer was uttered ; but it could not be too brief 
for the impatient crowd. Its amen was a signal for pandemo- 
nhtm. In a twinkling, every foot rushed back to the dwell- 
ing in Bangalang. The grove was alive with revelry. Stakes 
and racks reeked with roasting bullocks. Here and there, ket- 
tles steamed with boiling rice. Demijohn after demijohn of 
rum was served out. Very soon a sham battle was proposed, 
and parties were formed. The divisions took their grounds ; 
and, presently, the scouts appeared, crawling like reptiles on the 
earth till they ascertained each other's position, when the armies 
sallied forth with guns, bows, arrows, or lances, and, after firing, 
shrieking and shouting till they were deaf, retired with captives, 
and the war was done. Then came a reinforcement of rum, and 
then a dance, so that the bewildering revel continued in all its 
delirium till rum and humanity gave out together, and reeled to 
the earth in drunken sleep ! Such was the requiem of 

The Mongo of Bangalang ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 227 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

Slaves dropped in slowly at Kambia and Bangalang, though I 
still had half the cargo of the Feliz to make up. Time was 
precious, and there was no foreigner on the river to aid me. In 
this strait, I suddenly resolved on a foray among the natives on 
my own account ; and equipping a couple of my largest canoes 
with an ample armament, as well as a substantial store of pro- 
visions and merchandise, I departed for the Matacan river, a 
short stream, unsuitable for vessels of considerable draft. I was 
prepared for the purchase of fifty slaves. 

I reached my destination without risk or adventure, but had 
the opportunity of seeing some new phases of Africanism on my 
arrival. Most of the coast negroes are wretchedly degraded by 
their superstitions and sauvagerie, and it is best to go among 
them with power to resist as well as presents to purchase. Their 
towus did not vary from the river and bush settlements gen- 
erally. A house was given me for my companions and merchan- 
dise ; yet such was the curiosity to see the " white man," that 
the luckless mansion swarmed with sable bees both inside and 
out, till I was obliged to send for his majesty to relieve my suf- 
ferings. 

After a proper delay, the king made his appearance in all the 
paraphernalia of African court-dress. A few fathoms of check 



228 CAPTAIN CANOT; ORj 

girded his loins, while a blue shirt and red waistcoat were sur- 
mounted by a dragoon's cap with brass ornaments. His coun- 
tenance was characteristic of Ethiopia and royalty. A narrow 
forehead retreated rapidly till it was lost in the crisp wool, while 
his eyes were wide apart, and his prominent cheek-bones formed 
the base of an inverted cone, the apex of which was his braided 
beard, coiled up under his chin. When earnest in talk, his ges- 
tures were mostly made with his head, by straining his eyes to 
the rim of their sockets, stretching his mouth from ear to ear, 
grinning like a baboon, and throwing out his chin horizontally 
with a sudden jerk. Notwithstanding these personal oddities, 
the sovereign was kind, courteous, hospitable, and disposed for 
trade. Accordingly, I " dashed," or presented him and his 
head-men a few pieces of cottons, with some pipes, beads, and 
looking glasses, by way of whet for the appetite of to-morrow. 

But the division of this gift was no sportive matter. " The 
spoils " were not regulated upon principles of superiority, or even 
of equality ; but fell to the lot of the stoutest scramblers. As 
soon as the goods were deposited, the various gangs seized my 
snowy cottons, dragging them right and left to their several huts, 
while they shrieked, yelled, disputed, and fought in true African 
fashion. Some lucky dog would now and then leap between two 
combatants who had possession of the ends of a piece, and whirl- 
ing himself rapidly around the middle, slashed the sides with 
his jack knife and was off to the bush. The pipes, beads, and 
looking-glasses, were not bestowed more tenderly, while the to- 
bacco was grabbed and appropriated by leaves or handfals. 

Next day we proceeded to formal business. His majesty 
called a regular " palaver " of his chiefs and headmen, before 
whom I stated my. dantica and announced the terms. Very 
soon several young folks were brought for sale, who, I am sure, 
never dreamed at rising from last night's sleep, that they were 
destined for Cuban slavery ! My merchandise revived the me- 
mory of peccadilloes that had been long forgotten, and sentences 
that were forgiven. Jealous husbands, when they tasted my rum, 
suddenly remembered their wives' infidelities, and sold their bet- 
ter halves for more of the oblivious fluid. In truth I was exalt- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 229 

ed into a magician, unroofing the village, and baring its crime 
^and wickedness to the eye oi justice. Law became profitable, 
and virtue had never reached so high a price ! Before night the 
town was in a turmoil, for every man cudgelled his brain for an 
excuse to kidnap his neighbor, so as to share my commerce. As 
the village was too small to supply the entire gang of fifty, I had 
recourse to the neighboring settlements, where my " barkers," or 
agents, did their work in a masterly manner. Traps were 
adroitly baited with goods to lead the unwary into temptation, 
when the unconscious pilferer was caught by his ambushed foe, 
and an hour served to hurry him to the beach as a slave for ever. 
In fact, five days were sufficient to stamp my image permanently 
on the Matacan settlements, and to associate my memory with 
any thing but blessings in at least fifty of their families ! 



I had heard, on the Rio Pongo, of a wonderful wizard who 
dwelt in this region, and took advantage of the last day of my de- 
tention to inquire his whereabouts. The impostor was renowned 
for his wonderful tricks of legerdemain, as well as for cures, ne- 
cromancy, and fortune-telling. The ill came to him by scores ; 
credulous warriors approached him with valuable gifts for fe- 
tidies against musket balls and arrows; while the humbler class- 
es bought his charms against snakes, alligators, sharks, evil spi- 
rits, or sought his protection for their unborn children. 

My interpreter had already visited this fellow, and gave such 
charming accounts of his skill, that all my people wanted their 
fates divined, for which I was, of course, obliged to advance mer- 
chandise to purchase at least a gratified curiosity. When they 
came back I found every one satisfied with his future lot, and 
so happy was the chief of my krooraen that he danced around 
his new fetiche of cock's feathers and sticks, and snapped his 
fingers at all the sharks, alligators, and swordfish that swam in 
the sea. 

By degrees these reports tickled my own curiosity to such a 
degree, that, incontinently, I armed myself with a quantity of 
cotton cloth, a brilliant bandanna, and a lot of tobacco, where- 
with I resolved to attack the soothsayer's den. My credulity 



230 CAPTAIN canot: or. 



was not involved in the expedition, but I was sincerely anxious 
to comprehend the ingenuity or intelligence by which a negro 
could control the imagination of African multitudes. 

The wizard chose his abode with skilful and romantic taste. 
Quitting the town by a path which ascended abruptly from the 
river, the traveller was forced to climb the steep by a series of 
dangerous zig-zags among rocks and bushes, until he reached a 
deep cave in an elevated cliff that bent over the stream. As we 
approached, my conductor warned the inmate of our coming by 
several whoops. When we reached the entrance I was directed 
to halt until the demon announced his willingness to receive us. 
At length, after as much delay as is required in the antechamber 
of a secretary of state, a growl, like the cry of a hungry crocodile, 
gave token of the wizard's coming. 

As he emerged from the deep interior, I descried an uncom- 
monly tall figure, bearing in his arms a young and living leopard. 
I could not detect a single lineament of his face or figure, for he 
was covered from head to foot in a complete dress of monkey 
skins, while his face was hidden by a grotesque white mask. 
Behind him groped a delicate blind boy. 

We seated ourselves on hides along the floor, when, at my bid- 
ding, the interpreter, unrolling my gifts, announced that I came 
with full hands to his wizardship, for the purpose of learning my 
fortune. 

The impostor had trained his tame leopard to fetch and carry 
like a dog, so that, without a word, the docile beast bore the va- 
rious presents to his master. Every thing was duly measured, 
examined, or balanced in his hands to ascertain its quality and 
weight. Then, placing a bamboo between his lips and the blind 
boy's ear, he whispered the words which the child repeated 
aloud. First of all, he inquired what I wished to know ? As 
one of his follower's boasts was the extraordinary power he pos- 
sessed of speaking various languages, I addressed him in Span- 
ish, but as his reply displayed an evident ignorance of what I 
said, I took the liberty to reprimand him sharply in his native 
tongue. He waved me off with an imperious flourish of his 
hand, and ordered me to wait, as he perfectly comprehended my 



I 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 231 

Spanish, but the magic power would not suffer him to answer 
save in regular rotation, word by word. 

I saw his trick at once, which was only one of prompt and 
adroit repetition. Accordingly, I addressed him in his native 
dialect, and requested a translation of my sentence into Spanish. 
But this was a puzzler ; though it required but a moment for 
him to assure me that a foreign language could only be spoken 
by wizards of his degree at the full of the rtioon ! 

I thought it time to shift the scene to fortune-telling, and 
begged my demon to begin the task by relating the past, in order 
to confirm my belief in his mastery over the future. But the 
nonsense he uttered was so insufferable, that I dropped the cur- 
tain with a run, and commanded '' the hereafter " to appear. 
This, at least, was more romantic. As usual, I was to be im- 
mensely rich. I was to become a great prince. I was to have a 
hundred wives ; but alas ! before six months elapsed, my factory 
"would be burnt and I should lose a vessel ! 

Presently, the interpreter proposed an exhibition of legerde- 
main, and in this I found considerable amusement to make up 
for the preceding buffoonery. He knotted a rope, and untied it 
with a jerk. He sank a knife deep in his throat, and poured in 
a vessel of water. Other deceptions followed this skilful trick, 
but the cleverest of all was the handling of red hot iron, which, 
after covering his hands with a glutinous paste, was touched in 
the most fearless manner. I have seen this trick performed by 
other natives, and whenever ignited coals or ardent metal was 
used, the hands of the operator were copiously anointed with the 
pasty unguent. 

A valedictory growl, and a resumption of the leopard, gave 
token of the wizard's departure, and closed the evening's enter- 
tainments. 

If the ease with which a man is amused, surprised, or de- 
luded, is a fair measure of intellectual grade, I fear that African 
minds will take a very moderate rank in the scale of humanity. 
The task of self-civilization, which resembles the self-filtering of 
water, has done but little for Ethiopia in the ages that have 
passed simultaneously over her people and the progressive races 



232 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

of other lands. It remains to be seen what the infused civiliza- 
tion of Christianity and Islamism will effect among these benight- 
ed nations. Jesus, Mahomet, and the Fetiche, will, perhaps, 
long continue to be their types of distinctive separation. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 233 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

The Esperanza's capture made it absolutely necessary that I 
should visit Cuba, so that, when the Feliz was preparing to de- 
part, I began to put my factory and affairs in such order as would 
enable me to embark in her and leave me master of myself for a 
considerable time. I may as well record the fact here that the 
unlucky Esperanza was sent to Sierra Leone, where she was, of 
course, condemned as a slaver, while the officers and crew were 
despatched by order of the Admiralty, in irons, to Lisbon, where 
a tribunal condemned them to the galleys for five jears. I un- 
derstand they were subsequently released by the clemency of 
Don Pedro de Braganza when he arrived from Brazil. 

Every thing was ready for our departure. My rice was stored 
and about to be sent on board ; when, about three o'clock in the 
morning of the 25th of May, 1828, the voice of my servant 
roused me from pleasant dreams, to fly for life ! I sprang from 
the cot with a bound to the door, where the flickering of a bright 
flame, reflected through the thick, misty air, gave token of fire. 
The roof of my house was in a blaze, and one hundred and fifty 
kegs of powder were close at hand beneath a thatch ! They 
could not be removed, and a single spark from the frail and 
tinder-like materials might send the whole in an instant to 
the skies. 

A rapid discharge from a double-barrelled gun brought my 



234 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

people to the spot with alacrity, and enabled me to rescue the 
two hundred and twenty slaves stowed in the harratoon^ and 
inarch them to a neighboring wood, where they would be secure un- 
der a guard. In my haste to rescue the slaves I forgot to warn 
my body servant of his peril from the pawder. The faithful boy 
made several trips to the dwelling to save my personal eflfects, 
and after removing every thing he had strength to carry, return- 
ed to unchain the bloodhound that always slept beside my couch 
in Africa. But the dog was as ignorant of his danger as the 
youth. He knew no friend hut 'inyselj] and tearing the hand 
that was exposed to save him, he forced his rescuer to fly. And 
well was it he did so. Within a minute, a tremendous blast 
shook the earth, and tlie 'prediction of the Matacan wizard was 
accomjolisJied ! Not even the red coals of my dwelling smoul- 
dered on the earth. Every thing was swept as by the breath 
of a whirlwind. My terrified boy, bleeding at nose and ears, was 
rescued from the ruins of a shallow well in which he fortunately 
fell. The bamboo sheds, barracoons, and hovels, — the adobe 
dwelling and the comfortable garden — could all spring up again 
in a short time, as if by enchantment, — but my rich stuffs, my 
cottons, my provisions, my arms, my ammunition, my capital, 
were dust. 

In a few hours, friends crowded round me, according to Afri- 
can custom, with proffered services to rebuild my establishment ; 
but the heaviest loss I experienced was that of the rice designed 
for the voyage, which I could not replace in consequence of the 
destruction of my merchandise. In my difficulty, I was finally 
obliged to swap some of my two hundred and twenty negroes for 
the desired commodity, which enabled me to despatch the Feliz, 
though I was, of course, obliged to abandon tiie voyage in her. 

My mind was greatly exercised for some time in endeavors 
to discover the origin of this conflagration. The blaze was first 
observed at the top of one of the gable ends, which satisfied Ali- 
Ninpha as well as myself that it was the work of a malicious 
ineendiar3^ We adopted a variety of methods to trace or trap 
the scoundrel, but our efforts were fruitless, until a strange negro 
exhibited one of my double-barrelled guns for sale at a neighbor- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 235 

ing village, -whose chief happened to recognize it. When the 
seller was questioned about his possession of the weapon, he 
alleged that it was purchased from inland negroes in a distant 
town. His replies were so unsatisfactory to the inquisitive 
chief, that he arrested the suspected felon and sent him to 
Kambia. 

I had but little remorse in adopting any means in my power 
to extort a confession from the negro, who very soon admitted 
that my gun was stolen by a runner from the wizard of Matacan, 
who was still hanging about the outskirts of our settlement. I 
offered a liberal reward and handsome bribes to get possession 
of the necromancer himself, but such was the superstitious awe 
surroundii^ his haunt, that no one dared venture to seize him in 
his sanctuary, or seduce him within reach of my revenge. This, 
however, was not the case in regard to his emissary. I was soon 
in possession of the actual thief, and had little difficulty in 
securing his execution on the ruins he had made. Before we 
launched him into eternity, I obtained his confession after an 
obstinate resistance, and found with considerable pain that a 
brother of Ormond, the suicide, was a principal mover in the 
affair. The last words of the Mongo had been reported to this 
fellow as an injunction of revenge against me, and he very soon 
learned from personal experience that Kambia was a serious 
rival, if not antagonist, to Bangalang. His African simplicity 
made him believe that the "red cock" on my roof-tree would 
expel me from the river. I was not in a position to pay him 
back at the moment, yet I made a vow to give the new Mongo a 
free passage in irons to Cuba before many moons. But this, 
like other rash promises, I never kept. 

Sad as was the wreck of my property, the conflagration was 
fraught with a misfortune that affected my heart far more deeply 
than the loss of merchandise. Ever since the day of my landing 
at Ormond's factory, a gentle form had flitted like a fairy among 
my fortunes, and always as the minister of kindness and hope. 
Skilled in the ways of her double blood, she was my discreet 
counsellor in many a peril ; and, tender as a well-bred dame of 
civilized lands, she was ever disposed to promote my happiness by 



236 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

disinterested offices. But, when we came to number the survi- 
vors of the ruin, Esther was nowhere to be found, nor could I 
ever trace, among the scattered fragments, the slightest relic of 
the Pariah's form ! 



Of course, I had very little beside my domestics to leave in 
charge of any one at Kambia, and intrusting them to the care 
of Ali Ninpha, I went in my launch to Sierra Leone, where I 
purchased a schooner that had been condemned by the Mixed 
Commission. 

In 1829, vessels were publicly sold, and, with very little 
trouble, equipped for the coast of Africa. The captures in that 
region were somewhat like playing a hand, — taking the tricks, 
reshuffling the same cards, and dealing again to take more tricks! 
Accordingly, I fitted the schooner to receive a cargo of negroes 
immediately on quitting port. My crew was made up of men 
from all nations, captured in prizes ; but I guardedly selected 
my officers from Spaniards exclusively. 

We were slowly wafting along the sea, a day or two out of 
the British colony, when the mate fell into chat with a clever 
lad, who was hanging lazily over the helm. They spoke of voy- 
ages and mishaps, and this led the sailor to declare his recent 
escape from a vessel, then in the Rio Nunez, whose mate had 
poisoned the commander to get possession of the craft. She 
had been fitted, he said, at St. Thomas with the feigned design 
of coasting ; but, when she sailed for Africa, her register was 
sent back to the island in a boat to serve some other vessel, while 
she ventured to the continent without papers. 

I have cause to believe that the slave trade was rarely con- 
ducted upon the honorable principles between man and man, 
which, of course, are the only security betwixt owners, command- 
ers and consignees whose commerce is exclusively contraband. 
There were men, it is true, engaged in it, with whom the " point 
of honor " was more omnipotent than the dread of law in regular 
trade. But innumerable cases have occurred in which the spend- 
thrifts who appropriated their owners' property on the coast of 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 237 

Africa, availed themselves of such superior force as they hap- 
pened to control, in order to escape detection, or assure a favor- 
able reception in the West Indies. In fact, the slaver some- 
times ripened into something very like a pirate ! 

In 1828 and 1829, severe engagements took place between 
Spanish slavers and this class of contrabandists. Spaniards 
would assail Portuguese when the occasion was tempting and 
propitious. Many a vessel has been fitted in Cuba for these 
adventures, and returned to port with a living cargo, purchased 
by cannon-balls and boarding-pikes exclusively. 

Now, I confess that my notions had become at this epoch 
somewhat relaxed by my traflSc on the coast, so that I grew to be 
no better than folks of my cloth. I was fond of excitement ; 
my craft was sadly in want of a cargo ; and, as the mate narrated 
the helmsman's story, the Quixotic idea naturally got control of 
my brain that I was destined to become the avenger of the 
poisoned captain. I will not say that I was altogether stimu- 
lated by the noble spirit of justice ; for it is quite possible I 
would never have thought of the dead man had not the sailor 
apprised us that his vessel was half full of negroes ! 

As we drifted slowly by the mouth of my old river, I slipped 
over the bar, and, while I fitted the schooner with a splendid 
nine-pounder amidships, I despatched a spy to the Rio Nunez to 
report the facts about the poisoning, as well as the armament of 
the unregistered slaver. In ten days the runner verified the 
tale. She was still in the stream, with one hundred and eighty- 
five human beings in her hold, but would soon be off with an 
entire cargo of two hundred and twenty-five. 

The time was extraordinarily propitious. Every thing favored 
my enterprise. The number of slaves would exactly fit my 
schooner. Such a windfall could not be neglected; and, on the 
fourth day, I was entering the Rio Nunez under the Portuguese 
flag, which I unfurled by virtue of a pass from Sierra Leone to 
the Cape de Verd Islands. 

I cannot tell whether my spy had been faithless, but when I 
reached Furcaria, I perceived that my game had taken wing 
from her anchorage. Here was a sad disappointment. The 



238 CAPTAIN caxot; or, 

schooner drew too much water to allow a further ascent, and, 
moreover, I was unacquainted with the river. 

As it was important that I should keep aloof from strangers, 
I anchored in a quiet spot, and seizing the first canoe that passed, 
learned, for a small reward, that the object of my search was 
hidden in a bend of the river at the king's town of Kakundj, 
which I could not reach without the pilotage of a certain mulatto, 
who was alone fit for the enterprise. 

I knew this half-breed as soon as his person was described, 
but I had little hope of securing his services, either by fair means 
or promised recompense. He owed me five slaves for dealings 
that took place between us at Kambia, and had always refused 
so strenuously to pay, that I felt sure he would be off to the 
woods as soon as he knew my presence on the river. Accord- 
ingly, I kept my canoemen on the schooner by an abundant sup- 
ply of " bitters," and at midnight landed half a dozen, who pro- 
ceeded to the mulatto's cabin, where he was seized sans cercmo- 
nie. The terror of this ruffian was indescribable when he found 
himself in my presence, — a captive, as he supposed, for the debt 
of flesh. But I soon relieved him, and offered a liberal reward 
for his prompt, secret and safe pilotage, to Kakundy. The mu- 
latto was willing, but the stream was too shallow for my keel. 
He argued the point so convincing!}^, that in half an hour, I 
relinquished the attempt, and resolved to make " Mahomet come 
to the mountain." 

The two boats were quickly manned, armed, and supplied 
with lanterns ; and, with muffled oars, guided by our pilot, — 
whose skull was kept constantly under the lee of my pistol, — we 
fell like vampyres on our prey in the darkness. 

With a wild hurrah and a blaze of our pistols in the air, we 
leaped on board, driving every soul under hatches without strik- 
ing a blow ! Sentries were placed at the cabin door, forecastle 
and hatchway. The cable was slipped, my launch took her in 
tow, the pilot and myself took charge of the helm, and, before 
daylight, the prize was alongside my schooner, transhipping one 
hundred and ninety-seven of her slaves, with their necessary 
supplies. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 239 

Great was the surprise of the captured crew when tbej saw 
their fate ; and great was the agony of the poisoner, when he 
returned next morning to the vacant anchorage, after a night of 
debauch with the king of Kakundj. First of all, he imagined 
we were regular cruisers, and that the captain's death was about 
to be avenged. But when it was discovered that they had fallen 
into the grasp oi friendly slavers, five of his seamen abandoned 
their craft and shipped with me. 

We had capital stomachs for breakfast after the night's 
romance. Hardly was it swallowed, however, when three canoes 
came blustering down the stream, filled with negroes and headed 
by his majesty. I did not wait for a salutation, but, giving the 
warriors a dose of bellicose grape, tripped my anchor, sheeted 
home my sails, and was off" like an albatross ! 

The feat was cleverly achieved ; but, since then, I have very 
often been taxed by my conscience with doubts as to its strict 
morality ! The African slave trade produces singular notions of 
meuni avd tuum. in the minds and hearts of those who dwell 
for any length of time on that blighting coast ; and it is not 
unlikely that I was quite as prone to the infection as better men, 
who perished under the malady, while I escaped ! 



240 CAPTAIN CANOT *, OR, 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

It was a sweltering July, and the '' rainy season " proved its 
tremendous power by almost incessant deluges. In the breath- 
less calms that held me spell-bound on the coast, the rain came 
down in such torrents that I often thought the solid water would 
bury and submerge our schooner. Now and then, a south-wester 
and the current would fan and drift us along ; yet the tenth day 
found us rolling from side to side in the longitude of the Cape 
de Verds. 

Day broke with one of its customary squalls and showers. 
As the cloud lifted, my look-out from the cross-trees announced 
a sail under our lee. It was invisible from deck, in the folds of 
the retreating rain, but, in the dead calm that followed, the dis- 
tant whistle of a boatswain was distinctly audible. Before I 
could deliberate, all my doubts were solved by a shot in our main- 
sail, and the crack of a cannon. There could bo no question that 
the unwelcome visitor was a man-of-war. 

It was fortunate that the breeze sprang up after the lull, and 
enabled us to carry every thing that could be crowded on our 
spars. We dashed away before the freshening wind, like a deer 
with the unleashed hounds pursuing. The slaves were shifted 
from side to side — forward or aft — to aid our sailing. Head- 
stays were slackened, wedges knocked off the masts, and every 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 241 

incumbrance cast from the decks into the sea. Now and then, a 
fruitless shot from his bow-chasers, reminded the fugitive that 
the foe was still on his scent. At last, the cruiser got the 
range of his guns so perfectly, that a well-aimed ball ripped 
away our rail and tore a dangerous splinter from the foremast, 
three feet from deck. It was now perilous to carry a press of 
sail on the same tack with the weakened spar, whereupon I put 
the schooner about, and, to my delight, found we ranged ahead 
a knot faster on this course than the former. The enemy " went 
about " as quickly as we did, but her balls soon fell short of us, 
and, before noon, we had crawled so nimbly to windward, that 
her top-gallants alone were visible above the horizon. 



Our voyage was uncheckered by any occurrence worthy of 
recollection, save the accidental loss of the mate in a dark and 
stormy night, until we approached the Antilles. Here, where 
every thing on a slaver assumes the guise of pleasure and relief, 
I remarked not only the sullenness of my crew, but a disposition 
to disobey or neglect. The second mate, — shipped in the Rio 
Nunez, and who replaced my lost officer, — was noticed occasion- 
ally in close intercourse with the watch, while his deportment 
indicated dissatisfaction, if not mutiny. 

A slaver's life on shore, as well as at sea, makes him wary 
when another would not be circumspect, or even apprehensive. 
The sight of land is commonly the signal for merriment, for a 
well-behaved cargo is invariably released from shackles, and 
allowed free intercourse between the sexes during daytime on 
deck. Water tanks are thrown open for unrestricted use. 
" The cat " is cast into the sea. Strict discipline is relaxed. 
The day of danger or revolt is considered over, and the captain 
enjoys a new and refreshing life till the hour of landing, jail- 
ors, with proverbial generosity, share their biscuits and clothing 
with the blacks. The women, who are generally without g^y- 
ments, appear in costume from the wardrobes of tars, p^tty offi<r 
cers, mates, and even captains. Sheets, tablecloths, and spare 
11 



242 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

sails, are torn to pieces for raiment, while shoes, boots, caps, oil- 
cloths, and monkey-jackets, contribute to the gay masquerade of 
the " emigrants." 

It was my sincere hope that the first glimpse of the Antilles 
would have converted my schooner into a theatre for such a dis- 
play ; but the moodiness of my companions was so manifest, that 
I thought it best to meet rebellion half way, by breaking the sus- 
pected othccr, and sending him forward, at the same time that I 
threw his "dog-house" overboard.* 

I was now without a reliable officer, and was obliged to call 
two of the youngest sailors to my assistance in navigating the 
schooner. I knew the cook and steward — both of whom messed 
aft — to be trustworthy ; so that, with four men at my back, and 
the blacks below, I felt competent to control my vessel. From 
that moment, I suffered no one to approach the quarter-deck 
nearer than the mainmast. 

It was a sweet afternoon when we were floating along the 
shores of Porto Rico, tracking our course upon the chart. 
Suddenly, one of my new assistants approached, with the socia- 
bility common among Spaniards, and, in a quiet tone, asked 
whether I would take a cigarillo. As I never smoked. I rejected 
the offer with thanks, when the youth immediately dropped the 
twisted paper on my map. In an instant, I perceived the ruse^ 
and discovered that the cigarillo was, in fact, a billet rolled to 
resemble one. I put it in my mouth, and walked aft until I 
could throw myself on the deck, with my head over the stern, so 
as to open the paper unseen. It disclosed the organization of a 
mutiny, under the lead of the broken mate. Our arrival in sight 
of St. Domingo was to be the signal of its rupture, and for my 
immediate landing on the island. Six of the crew were implicated 
with the villain, and the boatswain, who was ill in the slave-hos- 
pital, was to share my fate. 

My resolution was promptly made. In a few minutes, I had 



The forecastle and cabin of a slaver are given up to the living 
freight, while officers sleep on deck in kennels, technically known as *' dog- 
houses." 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 243 

cast a hasty glance into the arm-chest, and seen that our weapons 
were in order. Then, mustering ten of the stoutest and clever- 
est of my negroes on the quarter-deck, I took the liberty to 
invent a little strategic fib, and told them, in the Soosoo dialect, 
that there were bad men on board, who wanted to run the 
schooner ashore amono- rocks and drown the slaves while below. 

o 

At the same time, I gave each a cutlass from the arm-chest, and 
supplying my trusty whites with a couple of pistols and a knife 
apiece, without saying a word, I seized the ringleader and his 
colleagues ! Irons and double-irons secured the party to the 
mainmast or deck, while a drum-head court-martial, composed of 
the officers, and presided over by myself, arraigned and tried the 
scoundrels in much less time than regular boards ordinarily 
spend in such investigations. During the inquiry, we ascertained 
beyond doubt that the death of the mate was due to false play. 
He had been wilfully murdered, as a preliminary to the assault 
on me, for his colossal stature and powerful muscles would have 
made him a dangerous adversary in the seizure of the craft. 

There was, perhaps, a touch of the old-fashioned Inquisition 
in the mode of our judicial researches concerning this projected 
mutiny. We proceeded very much by way of " confession," 
and, whenever the culprit manifested reluctance or hesitation, his 
memory was stimulated by a " cat." Accordingly, at the end 
of the trial, the mutineers were already pretty well punished ; so 
that we sentenced the six accomplices to receive an additional 
flagellation, and continue ironed till we reached Cuba. But the 
fate of the ringleader was not decided so easily. Some were in 
favor of dropping him overboard, as he had done with the mate ; 
others proposed to set him adrift on a raft, ballasted with chains ; 
but I considered both these punishments too cruel, notwithstand- 
ing his treachery, and kept his head beneath the pistol of a sen- 
try till I landed him in shackles on Turtle Island, with three 
days food and abundance of water. 



244 CArxAiN canot; or, 



CHAPTER XXXYI. 

After all these adventures, I was very near losing the schooner I 
before I got to land, by one of the perils of the sea, for which I 
blame myself that I was not better prepared. 

It was the afternoon of a fine day. For some time, I had | 
noticed on the horizon a low bank of white cloud, which rapidly ' 
spread itself over the sky and water, surrounding us with an im- 
penetrable fog. I apprehended danger ; yet, before I could 
make the schooner snug to meet the squall, a blast — as sudden 
and loud as a thunderbolt — prostrated her nearly on her beam. I 
The shock was so violent and unforeseen, that the unrestrained f 
slaves, who were enjoying the fine weather on deck, rolled to lee- 
ward till they floundered in the sea that inundated the scuppers, j 
There was no power in the tiller to " keep her away " before ■ 
the blast, for the rudder was almost out of water ; but, fortu- 
nately, our mainsail burst in shreds from the bolt-ropes, and, j 
relieving us from its pressure, allowed the schooner to right ' 
under control of the helm. The West Indian squall abandoned 
us as rapidly as it assailed, and I was happy to find that our 
entire loss did not exceed two slave-children, who had been care- 
lessly suffered to sit on the rail. 



The reader knows that my voyage was an impromptu specu* 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFHICAN SLAVER. '., ^5 

lation, without papers, manifest, register, consignees, or destina- 
tion. It became necessary, therefore, that I should exercise a 
very unusual degree of circumspection, not only in landing my 
human cargo, but in selecting a spot from which I might com- 
municate with proper persons. I had never been in Cuba, save 
on the occasion already described, nor were my business transac- 
tions extended beyond the Regla association, by which I was 
originally sent to Africa. 

The day after the '• white squall " I found our schooner drift- 
ing with a leading breeze along the southern coast of Cuba, and 
as the time seemed favorable, I thought I might as well cut the 
gordian knot of dilemma by landing my cargo in a secluded cove 
that indented the beach about nine miles east of Sant' lago. If 
I had been consigned to the spot, I could not have been more 
fortunate in my reception. Some sixty yards from the landing 
I found the comfortable home of a ranchero who proffered the 
hospitality usual in such cases, and devoted a spacious barn to 
the reception of my slaves while his family prepared an abundant 
meal. 

As soon as the cargo was safe from the grasp of cruisers, I 
resolved to disregard the flagless and paperless craft that bore it 
safely from Africa, and being unacquainted in Sant' lago, to 
cross the island towards the capital, in search of a consignee. 
Accordingly I mounted a spirited little horse, and with a mon- 
tcro guide, turned my face once more towards the " ever faithful 
citj of Havana." 

My companion had a thousand questions for " the captain," 
all of which I answered with so much bonhommie^ that we soon 
became the best friends imaginable, and chatted over all the 
scandal of Cuba. I learned from this man that a cargo had re- 
cently been " run " in the neighborhood of Matanzas, and that its 
disposal was most successfully managed by a Seiior * * *^ from 
Catalonia. 

I slapped my thigh and shouted eureka I It flashed through 
my mind to trust this man without further inquiry, and I confess' 
that my decision was based exclusively upon his sectional na- 
tionality. I am partial to the Catalans. 



246 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OK, 

Accordingly, I presented myself at the counting-room of my 
future consignee in due time, and " made a clean breast " of the 
whole transaction, disclosing the destitute state of my vessel. In 
a very short period, his Excellency the Captain General was made 
aware of my arrival and furnished a list of " the Africans," — by 
which name the Bosal slaves are commmonly known in Cuba. 
Nor was the captain of the port neglected. A convenient blank 
page of his register was inscribed with the name of my vessel as 
having sailed from the port six months before, and this was back- 
ed by a register and muster-roll, in order to secure my un- 
questionable entry into a harbor. 

Before nightfall every thing was in order with Spanish de- 
spatch when stimulated either by doubloons or the smell of Afri- 
can blood ; — and twenty-four hours afterwards, I was again at 
the landing with a suit of clothes and blanket for each of my 
" domestics." The schooner was immediately put in charge of a 
clever pilot, who undertook the formal duty and name of her 
commander, in order to elude the vigilance of all the minor ofii- 
'cials whose conscience had not been lulled by the golden 
anodyne. 

In the meanwhile every attention had been given to the slaves 
by my hospitable rcmchero. The " head-money " once paid, no 
body, — civil, military, foreign, or Spanish — dared interfere with 
them. Forty-eight hours of rest, ablution, exercise and feeding, 
served to recruit the gang and steady their gait. Nor had the 
sailors in charge of the party omitted the performance of their 
duty as " valets " to the gentlemen and " ladies' maids " to the 
females ; so that when the march towards Sant' lago began, the 
procession might have been considered as " respectable as it was 
numerous." 

The brokers of the southern emporium made very little delay 
in finding purchasers at retail for the entire venture. The re- 
turns were, of course, in cash ; and so well did the enterprise 
turn out, that I forgot the rebellion of our mutineers, and allow- 
ed them to share my bounty with the rest of the crew. In fact, 
BO pleased was I with the result on inspecting the balance sheet, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 247 

that I resolved to divert myself with the dolce far niente of Cu- 
ban country life for a month at least. 

But while I was making ready for this delightful repose, a 
slight breeze passed over the calmness of my mirror. I had 
given, perhaps imprudently, but certainly with generous motives, 
a double pay to my men in recompense of their perilous service 
on the Rio Nunez. With the usual recklessness of their craft, 
they lounged about Havana, boasting of their success, while a 
Frenchman of the party. — who had been swindled of his wages 
at cards, — appealed to his Consul for relief, l^y dint of cross 
questions the Gallic official extracted the tale of our voyage from 
his countryman, and took advantage of the fellow's destitution to 
make him a witness against a certain Don Teodore Canot, who 
ivas alleged to he a native of France I Besides this, the punish- 
ment of my mate was exaggerated by the recreant Frenchman 
into a most unjustifiable as well as cruel act. 

Of course the story was promptly detailed to the Captain Ge- 
neral, who issued an order for my arrest. But I was too wary 
and flush to be caught so easily by the guardian of France's li- 
lies. No person bearing my name could be found in the island ; 
and as the schooner had entered port with Spanish papers, Span- 
ish crew, and was regularly sold, it became manifest to the stu- 
pefied Consul that the sailor's " yarn " was an entire fabrication. 
That night a convenient press-gang, in want of recruits for the 
royal marine, seized the braggadocio crew, and as there were no 
witnesses to corroborate the Consul's complaint, it was forthwith 
dismissed. 

Things are managed very cleverly in Havana — ivhen you 
know how ! 



248 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 

Before I went to sea again, I took a long holiday with full 
pockets, among my old friends at Regla and Havana. I thought 
it possible that a residence in Cuba for a season, aloof from 
traders and their transactions, might wean me from Africa ; but 
three months had hardly elapsed, before I found myself sailing 
out of the harbor of St. Jago de Cuba to take, in Jamaica, a car- 
go of merchandise for the coast, and then to return and refit for 
slaves in Cuba. 

My voyage began with a gale, which for three days swept us 
along on a tolerably good course, but on the night of the third, 
after snapping my mainmast on a lee shore, I was forced to 
beach the schooner in order to save our lives and cargo from de- 
struction. Fortunately, we effected our landing with complete 
success, and at dawn I found my gallant little craft a total wreck 
on an uninhabited key. A large tent or pavilion was quickly 
built from our sails, sweeps, and remaining spars, beneath which 
every thing valuable and undamaged was stored before night- 
fall. Parties were sent forth to reconnoitre, while our remaining 
foremast was unshipped, and planted on the highest part of the 
sandbank with a signal of distress. The scouts returned without 
consolation. Nothing had been seen except a large dog, whose 
neck was encircled with a collar ; but as he could not be made to 
approach by kindness, I forbade his execution. Neither smoke 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVEFw. 249 

nor tobacco freed us of the cloudy swarms of mosquitoes that fill- 
ed the air after sunset, and so violent was the irritation of their 
innumerable stings, that a delicate boy among the crew became 
utterly insane, and was not restored till long after his return to 
Cuba. 

Several sad and weary days passed over us on this desolate 
key, where our mode of life brought to my recollection many a 
similar hour spent by me in company with Don Rafael and his 
companions. Vessel after vessel passed the reef, but none took 
notice of our signal. At last, on the tenth day of our imprison- 
ment, a couple of small schooners fanned their way in a noncha- 
lant manner towards our island, and knowing that we were quite 
at their mercy, refused our rescue unless we assented to the 
most extravagant terms of compensation. After a good deal of 
chaffering, it was agreed that the salvors should land us and our 
effects at Nassau, New Providence, where the average should be 
determined by the lawful tribunal. The voyage was soon accom- 
plished, and our amiable liberators from the mosquitoes of our 
island prison obtained a judicial award of seventy per cent, for 
their extraordinary trouble ! 

The wreck and the wreckers made so formidable an inroad 
upon my finances, that I was very happy when I reached Cuba 
once more, to accept the berth of sailing-master in a slave brig 
which was fitting out at St, Thomas's, under an experienced 
Frenchman. 

My new craft, the San Pablo, was a trim Brazil-built brig, 
of rather more than 300 tons. Her hold contained sixteen 
twenty-four carronades, while her magazine was stocked with 
abundance of ammunition, and her kelson lined, fore and aft, 
with round shot and grape. Captain * * *^ who had been de- 
scribed as a Tartar and martinet, received me with much affa- 
bility, and seemed charmed when I told him that I conversed flu- 
ently not only in French but in English. 

I had hardly arrived and begun to take the dimensions of my 
new equipage, when a report ran through the harbor that a Dan- 
ish cruiser was about to touch at the island. Of course, every 
thing was instantly afloat, and in a bustle to be off". Stores and 
11* 



250 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

provisions were tumbled in pell-mell, tanks were filled with wa- 
ter during the night ; and, before dawn, fifty-five ragamuffins of 
all castes, colors, and countries, were shipped as crew. By " six 
bells," with a coasting flag at our peak, we were two miles at sea 
with our main-topsail aback, receiving six kegs of specie and se- 
veral chests of clothing from a lugger. 

When we were fairly on '' blue water " I discovered that our 
voyage, though a slaver's, was not of an ordinary character. On 
the second day, the mariners were provided with two setts of 
uniform, to be worn on Sundays or when called to quarters. 
Gold-laced caps, blue coats with anchor buttons, single epau- 
lettes, and side arms were distributed to the officers, while a brief 
address from the captain on the quarter-deck, apprised all hands 
that if the enterprise resulted well, a bounty of one hundred dol- 
lars would be paid to each adventurer. 

That night our skipper took me into council and developed 
his plan, which was to load in a port in the Mozambique chan- 
nel. To effect his purpose with more security, he had provided 
the brig with an armament sufficient to repel a man of war of 
equal size — (a fancy I never gave way to) — and on all occasions, 
except in presence of a French cruiser, he intended to hoist the 
Bourbon lilies, wear the Bourbon uniform, and conduct the ves- 
sel in every way as if she belonged to the royal navy. Nor 
were the officers to be less favored than the sailors in regard to 
double salary, certificates of which were handed to me for my- 
self and my two subordinates. A memorandum book was then 
supplied, containing minute instructions for each day of the en- 
suing week, and I was specially charged, as second in command, 
to be cautiously punctual in all my duties, and severely just to- 
wards my inferiors. 

I took some pride in acquitting myself creditably in this new 
military phase of a slaver's life. Very few days sufficed to put 
the rigging and sails in perfect condition ; to mount my sixteen 
guns ; to drill the men with small arms as well as artillery ; and 
by paint and sea-craft, to disguise the Saint Paul as a very re- 
spectable cruiser. 

In twenty-seven days we touched at the Cape de Verds for 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 251 

provisions, and shaped our way southward without speaking a 
single vessel of the multitude we met, until off the Cape of Good 
Hope we encountered a stranger who was evidently bent upon 
being sociable. Nevertheless, our inhospitable spirit forced us to 
hold our course unswervingly, till from peak and main we saw 
the white flag and pennant of France unfurled to the wind. 

Our drum immediately beat to quarters, while the flag chest 
was brought on deck. Presently, the French transpmt demand- 
ed our private signal ; which out of our ample supply, was 
promptly answered, and the royal ensign of Portugal set at our 
peak. 

As we approached the Frenchman every thing was made ready 
for all hazards ; — our guns were double-shotted, our matches 
lighted, our small arms distributed. The moment we came with- 
in hail, our captain, — who claimed precedence of the lieutenant of 
a transport, — spoke the Fenchman ; and, for a while, carried on 
quite an amiable chat in Portuguese. At last the stranger re- 
quested leave to send his boat aboard with letters for the Isle 
of France ; to which we consented with the greatest pleasure, 
though our captain thought it fair to inform him that we dared 
not prudently invite his officers on deck, inasmuch as there were 
" several cases of small-pox among our crew, contracted, in all 
likelihood, at Angola ! " 

The discharge of an unexpected broadside could not have 
struck our visitor with more dismay or horror. The words were 
hardly spoken when her decks were in a bustle, — her yards braced 
sharply to the wind, — and her prow boiling through the sea, 
without so much as the compliment of a " bon voyage ! " 

Ten days after this ruse (Tcsclave we anchored at Quillimane, 
among a lot of Portuguese and Brazilian slavers, whose sails were 
either clewed up or unbent as if for a long delay. We fired a 
salute of twenty guns and ran up the French flag. The salvo was 
quickly answered, while our captain, in the full uniform of a 
naval commander, paid his respects to the Governor. Meantime 
orders were given me to remain carefully in charge of the ship ; 
to avoid all intercourse with others ; to go through the complete 
routine and show of a man of war ; to strike the yards, haul down 



252 CAPTAIN CANOT. 



signal, and fire a gun at sunset ; but especially to get underway 
and meet the captain at a small beach ofi" the port, the instant I 
saw a certain flag flying from the fort. 

I have rarely seen matters conducted more skilfully than they 
were by this daring Gaul. Next morning early the Governor's 
boat was sent for the specie ; the fourth day disclosed the signal 
that called us to the beach ; the fifth, sixth, and seventh, sup- 
plied us with eight hundred negroes ; and, on the ninth, we were 
underway for our destination. 

The success of this enterprise was more remarkable because 
fourteen vessels, waiting cargoes, were at anchor when we arrived, 
some of which had been detained in port over fifteen months. To 
such a pitch had their impatience risen, that the masters made 
common cause against all new-comers, and agreed that each ves- 
sel should take its turn for supply according to date of arrival. 
But the astuteness of my veteran circumvented all these plans. 
His anchorage and non-intercourse as a French man-of war lull- 
ed every suspicion or intrigue against him, and he adroitly took 
advantage of his kegs of specie to win the heart of the authori- 
ties and factors who supplied the slaves. 

But wit and cleverness are not all in this world. Our 
captain returned in high spirits to his vessel ; but we hardly 
reached the open sea before he was prostrated with an ague which 
refused to yield to ordinary remedies, and finally ripened into 
fever, that deprived him of reason. Other dangers thickened 
around us. We had been several days off the Cape of Good 
Hope, buffeting a series of adverse gales, when word was brought 
me after a night of weary watching, that several slaves were ill 
of small-pox. Of all calamities that occur in the voyage of a 
slaver, this is the most dreaded and unmanageable. The news ap- 
palled me. Impetuous with anxiety I rushed to the captain, and 
regardless of fever or insanity, disclosed the dreadful fact. He 
stared at me for a minute as if in doubt; then opening his bureau 
and pointing to a long coil of combustible material, said that it 
communicated through the decks with the powder magazine, and 
ordered me to — " blow up the brig ! " 

The master's madness sobered his mate. I lost no time in 



1 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 253 

securing both the dangerous implement and its perilous owner, 
while I called the oflBcers into the cabin for inquiry and consulta- 
tion as to our desperate state. 

The gale had lasted nine days without intermission, and dur- 
ing all this time with so much violence that it was impossible to 
take oflf the gratings, release the slaves, purify the decks, or rig 
the wind- sails. When the first lull occurred, a thorough inspec- 
tion of the eight hundred was made, and a death announced. As 
life had departed during the tempest, a careful inspection of the 
body was made, and it was this that first disclosed the pestilence 
in our midst. The corpse was silently thrown into the sea, and 
the malady kept secret from crew and negroes. 

When breakfast was over on that fatal morning, I determined 
to visit the slave deck raj'self, and ordering an abundant supply 
of lanterns, descended to the cavern, which still reeked horri- 
bly with human vapor, even after ventilation. But here, alas ! 
I found nine of the negroes infected by the disease. W^e took 
counsel as to the use of laudanum in ridding ourselves speedily 
of the sufferers, — a remedy that is seldom and secretly used in 
desperate cases to preserve the living from contagion. But it was 
quickly resolved that it had already gone too far,, when nine were 
prostrated, to save the rest by depriving them of life. Accord- 
ingly, these wretched beings were at once sent to the forecastle 
as a hospital, and given in charge to the vaccinated or innocu- 
lated as nurses. The hold was then ventilated and limed ; yet 
before the gale abated, our sick list was increased to thirty. 
The hospital could hold no more. Twelve of the sailors took the 
infection, and fifteen corpses had been cast in the sea ! 

All reserve was now at an end. Body after body fed the 
deep, and still the gale held on. At last, when the wind and 
waves had lulled so much as to allow the gratings to be removed 
from our hatches, our consternation knew no bounds when we 
found that nearly all the slaves were dead or dying with the dis- 
temper. I will not dwell on the scene or our sensations. It is 
a picture that must gape with all its horrors before the least 
vivid imagination. Yet there was no time for languor or senti- 
mental sorrow. Twelve of the stoutest survivors were ordered 



254 CAPTAIN canot; ok.. 

to drag out the dead from among the ill, and though they were 
constantly drenched with rum to brutalize them, still we were 
forced to aid the gang by reckless volunteers from our crew, 
who, arming their hands with tarred mittens, flung the foetid 
masses of putrefaction into the sea ! 

One day was a counterpart of another ; and yet the love of 
life, or, perhaps, the love of gold, made us fight the monster with 
a courage that became a better cause. At length death was 
satisfied, but not until the eight hundred beings we had shipped 
in high health had dwindled to four hundred and ninety-sevcA 
skeletons ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 255 



CHAPTEK XXXVIII. 

The San Pablo might have been considered entitled to a " clean 
bill of health " by the time she reached the equator. The dead 
left space, food, and water for the living, and very little re- 
straint was imposed on the squalid remnant. None were shack- 
led after the outbreak of the fatal plague, so that in a short 
time the survivors began to fatten for the market to which they 
were hastening. But such was not the fate of our captain. The 
fever and delirium had long left him, yet a dysenteric tendency, 
— the result of a former malady, — suddenly supervened, and the 
worthy gentleman rapidly declined. His nerves gave way so tho- 
roughly, that from fanciful weakness he lapsed into helpless hy- 
pochondria. One of his pet ideas was that a copious dose of ca- 
lomel would ensure his restoration to perfect health. Unfortu- 
nately, however, during the prevalence of the plague, our medicine 
chest had one day been accidentally left exposed, and our mer- 
cury was abstracted. Still there was no use to attempt calming 
him with the assurance that his nostrum could not be had. The 
more we argued the impossibility of supplying him, the more was 
he urgent and imperative for the sanative mineral. 

In this dilemma I ordered a bright look-out to be kept for 
merchantmen from whom I hoped to obtain the desirable drug. 
At last a sail was reported two points under our lee, and as her 



256 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



canvas was both patched and dark, I considered her a harm- 
less Briton who might be approached with impunity. 

It proved to be a brig fr-om Belfast, in Ireland ; but when I 
overhauled the skipper and desired him to send a boat on board, 
he declined the invitation and kept his course. A second and 
third command shared the same fate. I was somewhat nettled 
by this disregard of my flag, pennant, and starboard epaulette, 
and ordering the brig to be run alongside, I made her fast to the 
recusant, and boarded with ten men. 

Our reception was, of course, not very amicable, though no 
show of resistance was made by officers or crew. I informed 
the captain that my object in stopping him was entirely one of 
mercy, and repeated the request I had previously made through 
the speaking trumpet. Still, the stubborn Scotchman persisted 
in denying the medicine, though I ofl'ered him payment in silver 
or gold. Thereupon, I commanded the mate to produce his log- 
book, and, under my dictation, to note the visit of the San Pablo, 
my request, and its churlish denial. This being done to my sat- 
isfaction, I ordered two of my hands to search for the medicine 
chest, which turned out to be a sorry receptacle of stale drugs, 
though fortunately containing an abundance of calomel. I did 
not parley about appropriating a third of the mineral, for which 
I counted five silver dollars on the cabin table. But the metal 
was no sooner exhibited than my Scotchman refused it with dis- 
dain. I handed it, however, to the mate, and exacted a receipt, 
which was noted in the log-book. 

As I put my leg over the taffrail, I tried once more to smooth 
the bristles of the terrier, but a snarl and a snap repaid me for 
my good humor. Nevertheless, I resolved " to heap coals of 
fire on the head " of the ingrate ; and, before I cast off our lash- 
ings, threw on his deck a dozen yams, a bag of frijoles, a barrel 
of pork, a couple of sacks of white Spanish biscuits, — and, with 
a cheer, bade him adieu. 

But there was no balm in calomel for the captain. Scotch 
physic could not save him. He declined day by day ; yet the 
energy of his hard nature kept him alive when other men would 
have sunk, and enabled him to command even from his sick bed. 



m-^ 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 257 

It was alwaj's our Sabbath service to drum the men to quar- 
ters and exercise them with cannons and small arms. One Sun- 
day, after the routine was over, the dying man desired to inspect 
his crew, and was carried to the quarter-deck on a mattress. 
Each sailor marched in front of him and was allowed to take his 
hand ; after which he called them around in a body, and an- 
nounced his apprehension that death would claim him before our 
destination was reached. Then, without previously apprising us 
of his design, he proceeded to make a verbal testament, and en- 
joined it upon all as a duty to his memory to obey implicitly. 
If the San Pablo arrived safely in port, he desired that every 
officer and mariner should be paid the promised bounty, and that 
the proceeds of cargo should be sent to his family in Nantz. 
But, if it happened that we were attacked by a cruiser, and the 
brig was saved by the risk and valor of a defence, — then, he 
directed that one half the voyage's avails should be shared 
between officers and crew, while one quarter was sent to his 
friends in France, and the other given to me. His sailing-master 
and Cuban consignees were to be the executors of this salt-water 
document. 

We were now well advanced north-westwardly on our voyage, 
and in every cloud could see a promise of the continuing trade- 
wind, which was shortly to end a luckless voyage. From deck 
to royal, — from flying-jib to ring-tail, every stitch of canvas that 
would draw was packed and crowded on the brig. Vessels were 
daily seen in numbers, but none appeared suspicious till we got 
far to the westward, when my glass detected a cruising schooner, 
jogging along under easy sail. I ordered the helmsman to keep 
his course ; and taughtening sheets, braces, and halyards, went 
into the cabin to receive the final orders of our commander. 

He received my story with his usual bravery, nor was he 
startled when a boom from the cruiser's gun announced her in 
chase. He pointed to one of his drawers and told me to take 
out its contents. I handed him three flags, which he carefully 
unrolled, and displayed the ensigns of Spain, Denmark, and 
Portugal, in each of which I found a set of papers suitable for 
the San Pablo. In a feeble voice he desired me to select a' 



258 CAPTAIN CAXOT ; OR, 

nationality ; and, when I chose the Spanish, he grasped my hand, 
pointed to the door, and bade me not to surrender. 

When I reached the deck, I found our pursuer gaining on 
us with the utmost speed. She outsailed us — two to one. 
Escape was altogether out of the question ; yet I resolved to 
show the inquisitive stranger our mettle, by keeping my course, 
firing a gun, and hoisting my Spanish signals at peak and main. 

At this time the San Pablo was spinning along finely at the 
rate of about six knots an hour, when a shot from the schooner 
fell close to our stern. In a moment I ordered in studding-sails 
alow and aloft, and as my men had been trained to their duty in 
man-of-war fashion, I hoped to impose on the cruiser by the style 
and perfection of the manoeuvre. Still, however, she kept her 
way, and, in four hours after discovery, was within half gun-shot 
of the brig. 

Hitherto I had not touched my armament, but I selected this 
moment to load under the enemy's eyes, and, at the word of com- 
mand, to fling open the ports and run out my barkers. The act 
was performed to a charm by my well-drilled gunners ; yet all 
our belligerent display had not the least effect on the schooner, 
which still pursued us. At last, within hail, her commander 
leaped on a gun, and ordered me to " heave to, or take a ball ! " 

Now, I was prepared for this arrogant command, and, for 
half an hour, had made up my mind how to avoid an engagement. 
A single discharge of my broadside might have sunk or seriously 
damaged our antagonist, but the consequences would have been 
terrible if he boarded me, which I believed to be his aim. 

Accordingly, I paid no attention to the threat, but taughtened 
my ropes and surged ahead. Presently, my racing chaser came 
up under my lee within pistol-shot, when a reiterated command 
to heave to or be fired on, was answered for the first time by a 
faint. " no intiendo^^'' — " I don't understand you," — while the 
man-of-war shot ahead of me. 

Then I liad him I Quick as thought, I gave the order to 
'• square away," and putting the helm up, struck the cruiser 
near the bow, carrying away her foremast and bowsprit. Such 
was the stranger's surprise at my daring trick that not a musket 



TWENTY YEAllS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 259 

was fired or boarder stirred, till we were clear of the wreck. It 
was then too late. The loss of my jib-boom and a few rope-yarns 
did not prevent me from cracking on my studding-sails, and 
leaving the lubber to digest his stu])id forbearance ! 

This adventure was a fitting epitaph for the stormy life of our 
poor commander, who died on the following night, and was buried 
under a choice selection of the flags he had honored with his 
various nationalities. A few days after the blue water had closed 
over him for ever, our cargo was safely ensconsed in the hacienda 
nine miles east of St. Jago de Cuba, while the San Pablo was 
sent adrift and burnt to the water's edge. 



260 CAPTAIN canot; or. 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

The beneficent disposition of my late commander, though not a 
regular testament, was carried out in Cuba, and put me in pos- 
session of twelve thousand dollars as my share of the enterprise. 
Yet my restless spirit did not allow me to remain idle. Our 
successful voyage had secured me scores of friends among the 
Spanish slavers, and I received daily applications for a fresh 
command. 

But the plans of my French friend had so bewitched me with 
a desire for imitation, that I declined subordinate posts and 
aspired to ownership. Accordingly, I proposed to the proprietor 
of a large American clipper-brig, that we should fit her on the 
same system as the San Pablo ; yet, wishing to surpass my late 
captain in commercial success, I suggested the idea of fighting 
for our cargo, or, in plainer language, of relieving another slaver 
of her living freight, a project which promptly found favor with 
the owner of " La Conchita." The vessel in question origi- 
nally cost twelve thousand dollars, and 1 proposed to cover this 
value by expending an equal sum on her outfit, in order to con- 
stitute me half owner. 

The bargain was struck, and the armament, sails, additional 
spars, rigging, and provisions went on board, with prudential 
secrecy. Inasmuch as we could not leave port without some 
show of a cargo, merchandise in bond was taken from the public 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 261 

warehouses, and, after being loaded in our hold during day, was 
smuggled ashore again at night. As the manoeuvre was a trick 
of mj' accomplice, who privately gained by the operation, I took 
no notice of what was delivered or taken away. 

Finally, all was ready. Forty-five men were shipped, and 
the Conchita cleared. Next day, at daybreak, I was to sail with 
the land-breeze. 

A sailor's last night ashore is proverbial, and none of the 
customary ceremonies were omitted on this occasion. There was 
a parting supper with plenty of champagne ; there was a visit to 
the cafe ; a farewell call here, another there, and a bumper every 
where. In fact, till two in the morning, I was busy with my 
adieus ; but when I got home at last, with a thumping headache, 
I was met at the door by a note from my partner, stating that 
our vessel was seized, and an order issued for my arrest. He 
counselled me to keep aloof from the alguaziles, till he could 
arrange the matter with the custom-house and police. 

I will not enlarge this chapter of disasters. Next day, my 
accomplice was lodged in prison for his fraud, the vessel confis- 
cated, her outfit sold, and my purse cropped to the extent of 
twelve thousand dollars. I had barely time to escape before the 
officers were in my lodgings ; and I finally saved myself from an 
acquaintance with the interior of a Cuban prison, by taking 
another name, and playing ranchero among the hills for several 
weeks. 



My finances were at low-water mark, when I strolled one fine 
morning into Matanzas, and, after some delay, again obtained 
command of a slaver, through the secret influence of my old and 
trusty friends. The new craft was a dashing schooner, of one 
hundred and twenty tons, fresh from the United States, and 
intended for Ayudah on the Gold Coast. It was calculated that 
we miglit bring home at least four hundred and fifty slaves, for 
whose purchase, I was supplied plentifully with rum, powder, 
English muskets, and rich cottons from Manchester. 

In due time we sailed for the Cape de Verds, the usual 



262 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

" port of despatch " on sucli excursions ; and at Praya, ex- 
changed our flag for the Portuguese, before we put up our helm 
for the coast. A British cruiser chased us fruitlessly for two 
days off Sierra Leone, and enabled me not only to test the sail- 
ing qualities, but to get the sailing trim of the " Estrella," in 
perfection. So confident did I become of the speed and bottom 
of my gallant clipper, that I ventured, with a leading wind, to 
chase the first vessel I descried on the horizon, and was alto- 
gether deceived by the tri-color displayed at her peak. Indeed, 
I could not divine this novel nationality, till the speaking trum- 
pet apprised us that the lilies of France had taken triple hues 
in the hands of Louis Philippe ! Accordingly, before I squared 
away for Ayudah, I saluted the royal repxihlican^ by lowering 
my flag thrice to the new divinity. 



I consigned the Estrella to one of the most remarkable 
traders that ever expanded the African traffic by his genius. 

Senor Da Souza, — better known on the coast and interior 
as Cha-cha, — was said to be a native mulatto of Kio Janeiro, 
whence he emigrated to Dahomey, after deserting the arms of his 
imperial master. I do not know how he reached Africa, but it is 
probable the fugitive made part of some slaver's crew, and fled 
from his vessel, as he had previously abandoned the military ser- 
vice in the delicious clime of Brazil. His parents were poor, 
indolent, and careless, so that Cha-cha grew up an illiterate, 
headstrong youth. Yet, when he touched the soil of Africa, a 
new life seemed infused into his veins. For a while, his days 
are said to have been full of misery and trouble, but the Brazil- 
lian slave-trade happened to receive an extraordinary impetus 
about that period ; and, gradually, the adventurous refugee man- 
aged to profit by his skill in dealing with the natives, or by acting 
as broker among his countrymen. Beginning in the humblest 
w\ay,he stuck to trade with the utmost tenacity till he ripened into 
an opulent factor. The tinge of native blood that dyed his com- 
plexion, perhaps qualified him peculiarly for this enterprise. He 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 263 

loved the customs of the people. He spoke their language with 
the fluency of a native. He won the favor of chief after chief. 
He strove to be considered a perfect African among Africans ; 
though, among whites, he still afl'ected the graceful address and 
manners of his country. In this way, little by little. Cha-cha 
advanced in the regard of all he dealt with, and secured the com- 
missions of Brazil and Cuba, while he was regarded and pro- 
tected as a prime favorite by the warlike king of Dahomey. 
Indeed, it is alleged that this noted sovereign formed a sort of 
devilish compact with the Portuguese factor, and supplied him 
with every thing he desired during life, in consideration of inher- 
iting his wealtli when dead. 

But Cha-cha was resolved, while the power of enjoyment was 
still vouchsafed him, that all the pleasures of human life, acces- 
sible to money, should not be wanting in Ayudah. He built a 
large and commodious dwelling for his residence on a beautiful 
spot, near the site of an abandoned Portuguese fort. He filled 
his establishment with every luxury and comfort that could please 
the fancy, or gratify the body. Wines, food, delicacies and rai- 
ment, were brought from Paris, London, and Havana. The 
finest women along the coast were lured to his settlement. Bil- 
liard tablQS and gambling halls spread their wiles, or afi'orded dis- 
traction for detained navigators. In fine, the mongrel Sybarite 
surrounded himself with all that could corrupt virtue, gratify 
passion, tempt avarice, betray weakness, satisfy sensuality, and 
complete a picture of incarnate slavery in Dahomey. 

When he sallied forth, his walk was always accompanied by 
considerable ceremony. An ofl&cer preceded him to clear the 
path ; a fool or buffoon hopped beside him ; a band of native 
musicians sounded their discordant instruments, and a couple of 
singers screamed, at the top of their voices, the most fulsome 
adulation of the mulatto. 

Numbers of vessels were, of course, required to feed this 
African nabob with doubloons and merchandise. Sometimes, 
commanders from Cuba or Brazil would be kept months in his 
perilous nest, while their craft cruised along the coast, in expec- 
tation of human cargoes. At such seasons, no expedient was left 



264 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

untried for the entertainment and pillage of wealthy or trusted 
idlers. If Cha-cha's board and wines made them drunkards, it 
was no fault of his. If rouge et noir, or monte, won their 
doubloons and freight at his saloon, he regretted, but dared not 
interfere with the amusements of his guests. If the sirens of 
his harem betrayed a cargo for their favor over cards, a conve- 
nient fire destroyed the frail warehouse after its merchandise was 
secretly removed ! 

Cha-cha was exceedingly desirous that I should accept his 
hospitality. As soon as I read my invoice to him, — for he could 
not do it himself, — he became almost irresistible in his cmpresse- 
^nent. Yet I declined the invitation with firm politeness, and 
took up my quarters on shore, at the residence of a native man- 
fuca^ or broker. I was warned of his allurements before I left 
Matanzas, and resolved to keep myself and property so clear of 
his clutches, that our contract would either be fulfilled or remain 
within my control. Thus, by avoiding his table, his " hells," and 
the society of his dissipated sons, I maintained my business rela- 
tions with the slaver, and secured his personal respect so effect- 
ually, that, at the end of two months, four hundred and eighty 
prime negroes were in the bowels of La Estrella. ^ 

^ Da Souza died in May, 1849, Commander Foi-bes, R. N., in his book 
on Dahomey, says that a boy and girl were decapitated and buried with 
him, and that three men were sacrificed on the beach at Whydah. He 
alleges that, although this notorious slaver died in May, the funeral honors 
to his memory were not yet closed in October. "The town," he says, "is 
still in a ferment. Three hundred of the Amazons are daily in the square, 
firing and dancing ; bands of Fetiche people parade the streets, headed by 
guinea-fowls, fowls, ducks, goats, pigeons, and pigs, on poles, alive, for sac- 
rifice. Much rum is distributed, and all night there is shouting, firing and 
dancing." — Dahomey and the Dahomans, vol. i, 49. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 265 



CHAPTER XL. 

If I had dreamed that these recollections of my African career 
would ever be made public, it is probable I should have taxed 
my memory with many events and characteristic anecdotes, of 
interest to those who study the progress of mankind, and the 
singular manifestations of human intellect in various portions of 
Ethiopia. 

During my travels on that continent, I always found the negro 
a believer in some superior creative and controlling power, except 
among the marshes at the mouth of the Rio Pongo, where the 
Bagers, as I already stated, imagine that death is total annihila- 
tion. The Mandingoes and Fullahs have their Islamism and its 
Koran ; the Soosoo has his good spirits and bad ; another nation 
has its " pray-men " and " book-men," with their special creeds ; 
another relies on the omnipotence oijuju priests Siud fetiche wor- 
ship ; ^ some believe in the immortality of spirit ; while others 
confide in the absolute translation of body. The Mahometan 
tribes adore the Creator^ with an infinitude of ablutions, genuflex- 
ions, prayers, fasts, and by strictly adhering to the laws of the 
Prophet ; while the heathen nations resort to their adroit priests, 
who shield them from the devil by charms of various degree, 
which are exclusively in their gift, and may consec[uently be im- 
posed on the credulous for enormous prices. 

' From the Portuguese /effipo — witchcraft. 
12 



266 CAPTAIN CANOT ! OR, 



At Ayudah I found the natives addicted to a very grovelling 
species of idolatry. It was their belief that the Good as well as the 
Evil spirit existed in living Iguanas. In the home of the man- 
fuca, with whom I dwelt, several of these animals were con- 
stantly fed and cherished as dii penates, nor was any one allowed 
to interfere with their freedom, or to harm them when they grew 
insufferably offensive. The death of one of these crawling deities 
is considered a calamity in the household, and grief for the rep- 
tile becomes as great as for a departed parent. 

Whilst I tarried at Ayudah, an invitation came from the 
King of Dahomey, soliciting the presence of Cha-cha and his 
guests at the yearly sacrifice of human beings, whose blood is 
shed not only to appease an irritated god but to satiate the ap- 
petite of departed kings. I regret that I did not accompany the 
party that was present at this dreadful festival. Cha-cha des 
patched several of the captains who were waiting cargoes, under 
the charge of his own interpreters and the royal manfucas ; and 
from one of these eye-witnesses, whose curiosity was painfully 
satiated, I received a faithful account of the horrid spectacle. 

For three days our travellers passed through a populous re- 
gion, fed with abundant repasts prepared in the native villages 
by Cha-cha's cooks, and resting at night in hammocks suspended 
among the trees. On the fourth day the party reached the great 
capital of Abomey, to which the king had come for the bloody 
festival from his residence at Cannah. My friends were comfort- 
ably lodged for repose, and next morning presented to the sove- 
reign. He was a well built negro, dressed in the petticoat- 
trowsers of a Turk, with yellow morocco boots, while a profusion 
of silk shawls encircled his shoulders and waist, and a lofty cha- 
peau^ with trailing plumes, surmounted his wool. A vast body- 
guard of female soldiers or amazons, armed with lances and mus- 
kets, surrounded his majesty. Presently, the manfucas and in- 
terpreters, crawling abjectly on their hands and knees to the 
royal feet, deposited Cha-cha's tribute and the white men's offer- 
ing. The first consisted of several pieces of crape, silks, and taf- 
feta, with a large pitcher and basin of silver ; while the latter 
was a trifling gift of twenty muskets and one hundred pieces of 



^ 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 267 

blue dungeree. The present was gracefully accepted, and the do- 
nors welcomed to the sacrifice, which was delayed on account of 
the scarcity of victims, though orders had been given to storm a 
neighboring tribe to make up three hundred slaves for the fes- 
tival. In the mean while, a spacious house, furnished in Euro- 
pean style, and altogether better than the ordinary dwellings of 
Africa, was assigned to the strangers. Liberty was also given 
them to enter wherever they pleased, and take what they wished, 
inasmuch as all his subjects, male and female, were slaves whom 
he placed at the white men's disposal. 

The sixth of May was announced as the beginning of the sa- 
crificial rites, which were to last five days. Early in the morn- 
ing, two hundred females of the amazonian guard, naked to the 
waist, but richly ornamented with beads and rings at every 
joint of their oiled and glistening limbs, appeared in the area 
before the king's palace, armed with blunt cutlasses. Very 
soon the sovereign made his appearance, when the band of war- 
riors began their manoeuvres, keeping pace, with rude but not un- 
martial skill, to the native drum and flute. 

A short distance from the palace, within sight of the square, 
a fort or inclosure, about nine feet high, had been built of adohi^ 
and surrounded by a pile of tall, prickly briers. Within this 
barrier, secured to stakes, stood fifty captives who were to be 
immolated at the opening of the festival. When the drill of the 
amazons and the royal review were over, there was, for a consi- 
derable time, perfect silence in the ranks and throughout the vast 
multitude of spectators. Presently, at a signal from the king, 
one hundred of the women departed at a run, brandishing their 
weapons and yelling their war-cry, till, heedless of the thorny 
barricade, they leaped the walls, lacerating their flesh in crossing 
the prickly impediment. .The delay was short. Fifty of these 
female demons, with torn limbs and bleeding faces, quickly return- 
ed, and ofi"ered their howling victims to the king. It was now 
the duty of this personage to begin the sacrifice with his royal 
hand. Calling the female whose impetuous daring had led her 
foremost across the thorns, he took a glittering sword from her 
grasp, and in an instant the head of the first victim fell to the 



268 CAPTAIN CANOT I OR, 



dust. The weapon was then returned to the woman, who, hang- 
ing it to the white men, desired them to unite in the brutal deed ! 
The strangers, however, not only refused, but, sick at heart, 
abandoned the scene of butchery, which lasted, they understood, 
till noon, when the amazons were dismissed to their barracks, 
reeking with rum and blood. 

I have limited the details of this barbarity to the initial cru- 
elties, leaving the reader's imagination to fancy the atrocities 
that followed the second blow. It has always been noticed that 
the sight of blood, which appals a civilized man, serves to excite 
and enrage the savage, till his frantic passions induce him to 
mutilate his victims, even as a tiger becomes furious after it has 
torn the first wound in its prey. For five days the strangers 
were doomed to hear the yells of the storming amazons as they 
assailed the fort for fresh victims. On the sixth the sacrifice was 
over : — the divinity was appeased, and quiet reigned again in the 
streets of Abomey. 

Our travellers were naturally anxious to quit a court where 
such abominations were regarded as national and religious du- 
ties ; but before they departed, his majesty proposed to accord 
them a parting interview. He received the strangers with cere- 
monious politeness, and called their attention to the throne or 
royal seat upon which he had coiled his limbs. The chair is said 
to have been an heir-loom of at least twenty generations. Ea^h 
leg of the article rests on the skull of some native king or chief, 
and such is the fanatical respect for the brutal usages of an- 
tiquity, that every three years the people of Dahomey are 
obliged to renew the steadiness of the stool by the fresh skulls 
of some noted princes ! 



I 



I was not long enough at Ayudah to observe the manners and 
customs of the natives with much care, still, as well as I now re- 
member, there was great similarity to the habits of other tribes. 
The male lords it over the weaker sex, and as a man is valued 
according to the quantity of his wives ; polygamy, even among 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 269 

civilized residents, is carried to a greater excess than elsewhere. 
Female chastity is not insisted on as in the Mandingo and Soosoo 
districts, but the husband contents himself with the seeming con- 
tinence of his mistresses. Sixty or seventy miles south of Ayu- 
dah, the adulterous wife of a chief is stabbed in the presence of 
her relations. Here, also, superstition has set up the altar of 
human sacrifice, but the divinity considers the offering of a sin- 
gle virgin sufficient for all its requirements. 

Some years after my visit to Ayudah, it happened that my 
traffic called me to Lagos at the season of this annual festival, so 
that I became an unwilling witness of the horrid scene. 

When the slender crescent of the November moon is first ob- 
served, an edict goes forth from the king that his Juju-tnan^ or 
high-priest, will go his annual round through the town, and dur- 
ing his progress it is strictly forbidden for any of his subjects to 
remain out of doors after sunset. Such is the terror with which 
the priests affect to regard the sacred demon, that even the fires 
are extinguished in their houses. 

Towards midnight the Juju-man issued from a sacred gree- 
gree bush or grove, the entrance to which is inhibited to all ne- 
groes who do not belong to the religious brotherhood. The costume 
of the impostor is calculated to inspire his countrymen with fear. 
He was clad in a garment that descended from his waist to his 
heels like a petticoat or skirt, made of long black fur ; a cape of 
the same material was clasped round his neck and covered his 
elbows ; a gigantic hood which bristled with all the ferocity of a 
grenadier's cap, covered his head ; his hands were disguised in 
tiger's paws, while a frightful mask, with sharp nose, thin lips, 
and white color, concealed his face. He was accompanied by ten 
stout barbarians, dressed and masked like himself, each sounding 
some discordant instrument. Every door, by law, is required to 
be left ajar for the free access of the Jvju^ but as soon as the 
horrid noise is heard approaching from the tabooed grove^ each 
inhabitant falls to the ground, with eyes in the dust, to avoid even 
a look from the irritated spirit. 

A victim is always agreed upon by the priests and the author- 
ities before they leave the grcegree husli^ yet to instil a greater 



270 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

degree of superstitious terror, the frightful Juju, as if in doubt, 
promenades the town till daylight, entering a house now and 
then, and sometimes committing a murder or two to augment the 
panic. At dawn the home of the victim, — who, of course, is al- 
ways the handsomest virgin in the settlement, — is reached, and 
the Juju immediately seizes and carries her to a place of conceal- 
ment. Under pain of death her parents and friends are denied 
the privilege of uttering a complaint, or even of lifting their 
heads from the dust. Next day the unfortunate mother must 
seem ignorant of her daughter's doom, or profess herself proud 
of the Juju's choice. Two days pass without notice of the vic- 
tim. On the third, at the river side, the king meets his fanatical 
subjects, clad in their choicest raiment, and wearing their sweet- 
est smiles. A band of music salutes the sovereign, and suddenly 
the poor victim, no longer a virgin and perfectly denuded^ is 
brought forward by a wizard, who is to act the part of execution- 
er. The living sacrifice moves slowly with measured steps, but 
is no more to be recognized even by her nearest relatives, for 
face, body, and limbs, are covered thickly with chalk. As soon 
as she halts before the king, her hands and feet are bound to a 
bench near the trunk of a tree. The executioner then takes his 
stand, and with uplifted eyes and arms, seems to invoke a bless- 
ing on the people, while with a single blow of his blade, her head 
is rolled into the river. The bleeding trunk, laid carefully on a 
mat, is placed beneath a large tree to remain till a spirit shall 
bear it to the land of rest, and at night it is secretly removed by 
the priesthood. 

It is gratifying to know that these Jujus^ who in Africa as- 
sume the prerogatives of divinity, are only the principals of a 
religious fraternity who from time immemorial have constituted a 
secret society in this part of Ethiopia, for the purpose of sustain- 
ing their kings and ruling the people through their superstition. 
By fear and fanaticism these brutal priests exact confessions 
from ignorant negroes, which, in due time, are announced to the 
public as divinations of the oracle. The members of the society 
are the depositories of many secrets, tricks, and medical prepara- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 271 

tions, by which they are enabled to paralyze the body as well as 
affect the mind of their victim. The king and his chiefs are gen- 
erally supreme in this brotherhood of heathen superstition, and 
the purity of the sacrificed virgin, in the ceremony just described, 
was unquestionably yielded to her brutal prince. 



272 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



\ 



CHAPTER XLI. 

I HAVE always regretted that I left Ayudah on my homeward 
voyage without interpreters to aid in the necessary intercourse 
with our slaves. There was no one on board who understood a 
word of their dialect. Many complaints from the negroes that 
would have been dismissed or satisfactorily adjusted, had we 
comprehended their vivacious tongues and grievances, were pass- 
ed over in silence or hushed with the lash. Indeed, the whip 
alone was the emblem of La Estrella's discipline ; and in the end 
it taught me the saddest of lessons. 

From the beginning there was manifest discontent among the 
slaves. I endeavored at first to please and accommodate them 
by a gracious manner ; but manner alone is not appreciated by 
untamed Africans. A few days after our departure, a slave leap- 
ed overboard in a fit of passion, and another choked himself dur- 
ing the night. These two suicides, in twenty-four hours, caused 
much uneasiness among the ofl&cers, and induced me to make 
every preparation for a revolt. 

We had been at sea about three weeks without further dis- 
turbance, and there was so much merriment among the gangs 
that were allowed to come on deck, that my apprehensions of 
danger began gradually to wear away. Suddenly, however, one 
fair afternoon, a squall broke forth from an almost cloudless sky ; 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 273 

and as the boatswain's whistle piped all hands to take in sail, a 
simultaneous rush was made by the confined slaves at all the 
after-gratings, and amid the confusion of the rising gale, they 
knocked down the guard and poured upon deck. The sentry 
at i}\e fore-hatch seized the cook's axe, and sweeping it round 
him like a scythe, kept at bay the band that sought to emerge 
from below him. Meantime, the women in the cabin were not 
idle. Seconding the males, they rose in a body, and the helms- 
man was forced to stab several with his knife before he could 
drive them below again. 

About forty stalwart devils, yelling and grinning with all the 
savage ferocity of their wilderness, were now on deck, armed 
with staves of broken water-casks, or billets of wood, found in 
the hold. The suddenness of this outbreak did not appal me, 
for, in the dangerous life of Africa, a trader must be always 
admonished and never off his guard. The blow that prostrated 
the first white man was the earliest symptom I detected of the 
revolt ; but, in an instant, I had the arm-chest open on the quar- 
ter-deck, and the mate and steward beside me to protect it. 
Matters, however, did not stand so well forward of the main- 
mast. Four of the hands were disabled by clubs, while the rest 
defended themselves and the wounded as well as they could with 
handspikes, or whatever could suddenly be clutched. I had 
always charged the cook, on such an emergency, to distribute 
from his coppers a liberal supply of scalding water upon the 
belligerents ; and, at the first sign of revolt, he endeavored to 
baptize the heathen with his steaming slush. But dinner had 
been over for some time, so that the lukewarm liquid only irri- 
tated the savages, one of whom laid the unfortunate " doctor " 
bleeding in the scuppers. 

All this occurred in perhaps less time than I have taken to 
tell it ; yet, rapid as was the transaction, I saw that, between 
the squall with its flying sails, and the revolt with its raving 
blacks, we would soon be in a desperate plight, unless I gave the 
order to shoot. Accordingly, I told my comrades to aim low and 
fire at once. 

Our carabines had been purposely loaded with buck-shot, to 
12* 



274 



CAPTAIN CANOT I OR, 



suit such an occasion, so that the first two discharges brought 
several of the rebels to their knees. Still, the unharmed neither 
fled nor ceased brandishing their weapons. Two more discharges 
drove them forward amongst the mass of my crew, who had 
retreated towards the bowsprit ; but, being reinforced by the 
boatswain and carpenter, we took command of the hatches so 
eflfectually, that a dozen additional discharges among the ebony 
legs, drove the refractory to their quarters below. 

It was time ; for sails, ropes, tacks, sheets, and blocks, were 
flapping, dashing, and rolling about the masts and decks, threat- 
ening us with imminent danger from the squalL In a short time, 
every thing was made snug, the vessel put on our course, and at- 
tention paid to the mutineers, who had begun to fight among 
themselves in the hold ! 

I perceived at once, by the infuriate sounds proceeding from 
below, that it would not answer to venture in their midst by 
descending through the hatches. Accordingly, we discharged 
the women from their quarters under a guard on deck, and sent 
several resolute and well-armed hands to remove a couple of 
boards from the bulk-head, that separated the cabin from the 
hold. When this was accomplished, a party entered, on hands 
and knees, through the aperture, and began to press the muti- 
neers forward towards the bulk-head of the forecastle. Still, 
the rebels were hot for fight to the last, and boldly defended 
themselves with their staves against our weapons. 

By this time, our lamed cook had rekindled his fires, and the 
water was once more boiling. The hatches were kept open but 
guarded, and all who did not fight were suffered to come singly 
on deck, where they were tied. As only about sixty remained 
below engaged in conflict, or defying my party of sappers and 
miners, I ordered a number of auger-holes to be bored in the 
deck, as the scoundrels were forced forward near the forecastle, 
when a few buckets of boiling water, rained on them through the 
fresh apertures, brought the majority to submission. Still, how- 
ever, two of the most savage held out against water as well as 
fire. I strove as long as possible to save their lives, but their 
resistance was so prolonged and perilous, that we were obliged 
to disarm them /or ever by a couple of pistol shots. 



I 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 275 

So ended the sad revolt of " La Estrella," in which two of 
my men were seriously wounded, while twenty-eight balls and 
buckshot were extracted, with sailors' skill, from the lower limbs 
of the slaves. One woman and three men perished of blows 
received in the conflict ; but none were deliberately slain except 
the two men, who resisted unto death. 

I could never account for this mutiny, especially as the blacks 
from Ayudah and its neighborhood are distinguished for their 
humble manners and docility. There can be no doubt that the 
entire gang was not united or concerned in the original out- 
break, else we should have had harder work in subduing them, 
amid the risk and turmoil of a West Indian squall. 



276 CAPTAIN CANOT ) OR, 



CHAPTER XLII. 

There was very little comfort on board La Estrella, after the 
suppression of this revolt. We lived with a pent-up volcano 
beneath us, and, day and night, we were ceaselessly vigilant. 
Terror reigned supreme, and the lash was its sceptre. 

At last, we made land at Porto Rico, and were swiftly pass- 
ing its beautiful shores, when the inspector called my attention 
to the appearance of one of our attendant slaves, whom we had 
drilled as a sort of cabin-boy. He was a gentle, intelligent 
child, and had won the hearts of all the officers. 

His pulse was high, quick and hard ; his face and eyes red 
and swollen ; while, on his neck, I detected half a dozen rosy 
pimples. He was sent immediately to the forecastle, free from 
contact with any one else, and left there, cut off from the crew, 
till I could guard against pestilence. It was small-pox ! 

The boy passed a wretched night of fever and pain, develop- 
ing the malady with all its horrors. It is very likely that I 
slept as badly as the sufferer, for my mind was busy with his 
doom. Daylight found me on deck in consultation with our 
veteran boatswain, whose experience in the trade authorized the 
highest respect for his opinion. Hardened as he was, the old 
man's eyes filled, his lips trembled, and his voice was husky, as 
ho whispered the verdict in my ear. I guessed it before he said 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 277 

a word ; yet I hoped he would have counselled against the dread 
alternative. As we went aft to the quarter-deck, all eyes were 
bent upon us, for every one conjectured the malady and feared 
the result, yet none dared ask a question. 

I ordered a general inspection of the slaves, yet when a 
favorable report was made, I did not rest content, and descended 
to examine each one personally. It was true ; the child was 
alone infected ! 

For half an hour, I trod the deck to and fro restlessly, and 
caused the crew to subject themselves to inspection. But my 
sailors were as healthy as the slaves. There was no symptom 
that indicated approaching danger. I was disappointed again. 
A single case — a single sign of peril in any quarter, would have 
spared the poison ! 

That evening, in the stillness of night, a trembling hand stole 
forward to the afflicted boy with a potion that knows no waking. 
In a few hours, all was over. Life and the pestilence were 
crushed together ; for a necessary murder had been committed, 
and the poor victim was beneath the blue water ! 



I am not superstitious, but a voyage attended with such 
calamities could not end happily. Incessant gales and head 
winds, unusual in this season and latitude, beset us so obsti- 
nately, that it became doubtful whether our food and water 
would last till we reached Matanzas. To add to our risks and 
misfortunes, a British corvette espied our craft, and gave chase 
off Cape Maize. All day long she dogged us slowly, but, at 
night, I tacked off shore, with the expectation of eluding my 
pursuer. Day dawn, however, revealed her again on our track, 
though this time we had unfortunately fallen to leeward. Ac- 
cordingly, I put La Estrella directly before the wind, and ran 
till dark, with a fresh breeze, when I again dodged the cruiser, 
and made for the Cuban coast. But the Briton seemed to scent 
my track, for sunrise revealed him once more in chase. 

The wind lulled that night to a light breeze, yet the red 



278 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



1 



clouds and haze in the east betokened a gale from that quarter 
before meridian. A longer pursuit must have given considerable 
advantage to the enemy, so that my best reliance, I calculated, 
was in making the small harbor near St. Jago, now about twenty 
miles distant, where I had already landed two cargoes. The 
corvette was then full ten miles astern. 

My resolution to save the cargo and lose the vessel was 
promptly made ; — orders were issued to strike from the slaves 
the irons they had constantly worn since the mutiny ; the boats 
were made ready ; and every man prepared his bag for a rapid 
launch. 

On dashed the cruiser, foaming at the bows, under the im- 
petus of the rising gale, which struck him some time before it 
reached us. We were not more than seven miles apart when the 
first increased pressure on our sails was felt, and every thing 
was set and braced to give it the earliest welcome. Then came 
the tug and race for the beach, three miles ahead. But, under 
such circumstances, it was hardly to be expected that St. George 
could carry the day. Still, every nerve was strained to eflfect 
the purpose. Regardless of the gale, reef after reef was let out 
while force pumps moistened his sails ; yet nothing was gained. 
Three miles against seven were too much odds ; — and, with a 
slight move of the helm, and " letting all fly," as we neared the 
line of surf, to break her headway, La Estrella was fairly and 
safely beached. 

The sudden shock snapped her mainmast like a pipe-stem, 
but, as no one was injured, in a twinkling the boats were over- 
board, crammed with women and children, while a stage was 
rigged from the bows to the strand, so that the males, the crew 
and the luggage were soon in charge of my old haciendado. 

Prompt as we were, we were not sufficiently so for the cruiser. 
Half our cargo was ashore when she backed her top-sails off the 
mouth of the little bay, lowered her boats, filled them with 
boarders, and steered towards our craft. The delay of half a 
mile's row gave us time to cling still longer to the wreck, so 
that, when the boats and corvette began to fire, we wished them 
joy of their bargain over the remnant of our least valuable ne- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 279 

groes. The rescued blacks are now, in all likelihood, citizens of 
Jamaica ; but, under the influence of the gale, La Estrella made 
a very picturesque bonfire, as we saw it that night from the 
azoUa of our landlord's domicile. 



280 CAPTAIN canot: or. 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

Disastrous as was this enterprise, both on the sea and in the 
counting-house, a couple of months found me on board a splendid 
clipper, — born of the famous waters of the Chesapeake, — delighting 
in the name of " Aguila de Oro," or " Golden Eagle," and spin- 
ning out of the Cape de Verds on a race with a famous West In- 
dian privateer. 

The " Montesquieu " was the pride of Jamaica for pluck and 
sailing, when folks of her character were not so unpopular as of 
late among the British Islands ; and many a banter passed be- 
tween her commander and myself, while I was unsuccessfully 
waiting till the governor resolved his conscientious difficulties 
about the exchange ofjlags. At last I offered a bet of five hun- 
dred dollars against an equal sum ; and next day a bag with the 
tempting thousand was tied to the end of my mainboom^ with an 
invitation for the boaster to " follow and take." It was under- 
stood that, once clear of the harbor, the " Aguila " should have 
five minutes' start of the Montesquieu, after which we were to 
crowd sail and begin the race. 

The contest was quickly noised throughout the port, and the 
captains smacked their lips over the dejeuner promised by the 
boaster out of the five hundred dollars won from the " Yankee 
nutshell." Accordingly, when all was ready and the breeze fa- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 281 

vored, the eastern cliffs of the Isle were crowded with spectators 
to witness the regatta. 

As we were first at sea and clear of the harbor, we delayed 
for our antagonist ; and without claiming the conceded start of 
five minutes, did not shoot ahead till our rival was within musket 
shot. But then the tug began with a will ; and as the Aguila 
led, I selected her most favorable trim and kept her two points 
free. The Montesquieu did the same, but confident of her speed, 
did not spread all her canvas that would draw. The error, how- 
ever, was soon seen. Our Chesapeake clipper crawled off as if 
her opponent was at anchor ; and in a jiffy every thing that could 
be carried was sheeted home and braced to a hair. The breeze 
was steady and strong. Soon the island was cleared entirely ; 
and by keeping away another point, I got out of the Aguila her 
utmost capacity as a racer. As she led off, the Montesepicu fol- 
lowed, — but glass by glass, and hour by hour, the distance be- 
tween us increased, till at sunset the boaster's hull was below the 
horizon, and my bag taken in as a lawful prize. 

I did not return to Praya after this adventure, but keeping 
on towards the coast, in four days entered the Rio Salum, an in- 
dependent river between the French island of Goree and the 
British possessions on the Gambia. No slaver had haunted this 
stream for many a year, so that I was obliged to steer my mos- 
quito pilot-boat full forty miles in the interior, through man- 
groves and forests, till I struck the trading ground of " the 
king." 

After three days' parley I had just concluded my bargain with 
his breechless majesty, when a '• barker " greeted me with the 
cheerless message that the " Aguila " was surrounded by man-of- 
war boats ! It was true ; but the mate refused an inspection of 
his craft 07i neutral ground^ and the naval folks departed. Never- 
theless, a week after, when I had just completed my traffic, I was 
seized by a gang of the treacherous king's own people ; delivered 
to the second lieutenant of a French corvette — " La Bayon- 
naise ; " — and my lovely little Eagle caged as her lawful prey ! 

I confess I have never been able to understand the legal mer- 
its of this seizure, so far as the act of the French officers was 



282 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

concerned, as no treaty existed between France and Spain for 
tbe suppression of slavery. The reader will not be surprised to 
learn, therefore, that there was a very loud explosion of wrath 
among my men when they found themselves prisoners ; nor was 
their fury diminished when our whole band was forced into a 
dungeon at Goree, which, for size, gloom, and closeness, vied with 
the celebrated black hole of Calcutta. 

For three days were we kept in this filthy receptacle, in a 
burning climate, without communication with friends or inhabit- 
ants, and on scanty fare, till it suited the local authorities to 
transfer us to San Luis, on the Senegal, in charge of a file of 
marines, oh board our own vessel ! 

San Luis is the residence of the governor and the seat of 
the colonial tribunal, and here again we were incarcerated in a 
military cachot, till several merchants who knew me on the Rio 
Pongo, interfered, and had us removed to better quarters in the 
military hospital. I soon learned that there was trouble among 
the natives. A war had broken out among some of the Moorish 
tribes, some two hundred miles up the Senegal, and my Aguila 
was a godsend to the Frenchmen, who needed just such a light 
craft to guard their returning flotilla with merchandise from Ga- 
tarn. Accordingly, the craft was armed, manned, and despatch- 
ed on this expedition without waiting the decree of a court as to 
the lawfulness of her seizure ! 

Meanwhile, the sisters of charity — those angels of devoted 
mercy, who do not shun even the heats and pestilence of Africa, 
— made our prison life as comfortable as possible ; and had we 
not seen gratings at the windows, or met a sentinel when we at- 
tempted to go out, we might have considered ourselves valetudi- 
narians instead of convicts. 

A month oozed slowly away in these headquarters of sufi'ering, 
before a military sergeant apprised us that he had been elevated 
to the dignity of the long-robe, and appointed our counsel in the 
approaching trial. No other lawyer was to be had in the colony 
for love or money, and, perhaps, our military man might have 
acquitted himself as well as the best, had not his superiors often 
imposed silence on him during the argument. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 283 

By this time the nimble Aguila had made two most service- 
able trips under the French officers, and proved so valuable to the 
Gallic government that no one dreamed of recovering her. The 
colonial authorities had two alternatives under the circumstances, 
— either to pay for or condemn her, — and as they knew I would 
not be willing to take the craft again after the destruction of my 
voyage, the formality of a trial was determined to legalize the 
condemnation. It was necessary, however, even in Africa, to 
show that I had violated the territory of the French colony by 
trading in slaves, and that the Aguila had been caught in 
the act. 

I will not attempt a description of the court scene, in which 
my military friend was browbeaten by the prosecutor, the prose- 
cutor by the judge, and the judge by myself After various out- 
rages and absurdities, a Mahometan slave was allowed to be 
sworn as a witness against me ; whereupon I burst forth with a 
torrent of argument, defence, abuse, and scorn, till a couple of 
soldiers were called to keep my limbs and tongue in forensic 
order. 

But the deed was done. The foregone conclusion was for- 
mally announced. The Aguila de Oro became King Louis Phi- 
lippe's property, while my men were condemned to two, my 
officers to five, and Don Teodor himself, to ten years' confinement 
in the central prisons of la belle France ! 

Such was the style of colonial justice in the reign of le roi 
bourgeois I 

My sentence aroused the indignation of many respectable mer- 
chants at San Luis ; and, of course, I did not lack kindly visits 
in the stronghold to which I was reconducted. It was found to 
be entirely useless to attack the sympathy of the tribunal, either 
to procure a rehearing of the cause or mitigation of the judg- 
ment. Presently, a generous friend introduced a saw suitable to 
discuss the toughness of iron bars, and hinted that on the night 
when my window gratings were severed, a boat might be found 
waiting to transport me to the opposite shore of the river, whence 
an independent chief would convey me on camels to Gambia. 

I know not how it was that the government got wind of my 



284 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

projected fliglit, but it certainly did, and we were sent on board 
a station ship lying in the stream. Still my friends did not 
abandon me. I was apprised that a party, — bound on a shooting 
frolic down the river on the first foggy morning, — would visit 
the commander of the hulk, — a noted hon-vivant^ — and while the 
vessel was surrounded by a crowd of boats, I might slip over- 
board amid the confusion. Under cover of the dense mist that 
shrouds the surface of an African river at dawn, I could easily 
elude even a ball if sent after me, and when I reached the shore, 
a canoe would be ready to convey me to a friendly ship. 

The scheme was peculiarly feasible, as the captain happened 
to be a good fellow, and allowed me unlimited liberty about his 
vessel. Accordingly, when the note had been duly digested, I 
called ray officers apart, and proposed their participation in my 
escape. The project was fully discussed by the fellows ; but the 
risk of swimming, even in a fog, under the muzzles of muskets, 
was a danger they feared encountering. I perceived at once that 
it would be best to free myself entirely from the encumbrance of 
such chicken-hearted lubbers, so I bade them take their own 
course, but divided three thousand francs in government bills 
among the gang, and presented my gold pocket chronometer to 
the mate. 

Next morning an impervious fog laid low on the bosom of the 
Senegal, but through its heavy folds I detected the measured 
beat of approaching oars, till five boats, with a sudden rush, 
dashed alongside us with their noisy and clamorous crews. 

Just at this very moment a friendly hand passed through 
my arm, and a gentle tone invited me to a quarter-deck prome« 
nade. It was our captain ! 

There was, of course, no possibility of declining the profi'ered 
civility, for during the whole of my detention on board, the com- 
mander had treated me with the most assiduous politeness. 

" Mon cJier Canot^'' said he, as soon as we got aft, — "you 
seem to take considerable interest in these visitors of ours, and I 
wish from the bottom of my heart that you could join the sport ; 
hut^ unfortunately for you^ these gentlemen vnll not effect their 
purpose ! " 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. '285 

As I did not entirely compreliend, — though I rather guessed, 
— his precise meaning, I made an evasive answer ; and, arm in 
arm I was led from the deck to the cabin. When we were per- 
fectly alone, he pointed to a seat, and frankly declared that I 
had been betrayed by a Judas to his sergeant of marines ! I was 
taken perfectly aback, as I imagined myself almost free, yet the 
loss of liberty did not paralyze me as much as the perfidy of my 
men. Like a stupid booby, I stood gazing with a fixed stare at 
the captain, when the cabin door burst open, and with a shout 
of joyous merriment the hunters rushed in to greet their 
comrade. 

My dress that morning was a very elaborate 7ieglige. I had 
purposely omitted coat, braces, stockings and shoes, so that my 
privateer costume of trowsers and shirt was not calculated for 
the reception of strangers. It was natural, therefore, that the 
first sally of my friendly liberators should be directed against my 
toilette ; I parried it, however, as adroitly as my temper would 
allow, by reproaching them with their "unseasonable visit, 
before I could complete the bath which they saw I was prepared 
for ! " 

The hint was understood ; but the captain thought proper to 
tell the entire tale. No man, he said, would have been happier 
than he, had I escaped before the treachery. My friends were 
entreated not to risk further attempts, which might subject me 
to severe restraints ; and my base comrades were forthwith sum- 
moned to the cabin, where, in presence of the merchants, they 
were forced to disgorge the three thousand francs and the chro- 
nometer. 

'• But this," said Captain Z , " is not to be the end of 

the comedy, — en avant^ messieurs I " as he led the way to the 
mess-room, where a sumptuous dejeuner was spread for officers 
and huntsmen, and over its fragrant fumes my disappointment 
was, for a while, forgotten. 



286 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

For fifteen days more the angry captive bit his thumbs on 
the tafi"rail of the guard-ship, and gazed either at vacancy or 
the waters of the SenegaL At the end of that period, a 
gunboat transferred our convict party to the frigate Flora, 
whose first lieutenant, to whom I had been privately recom- 
mended, separated me immediately from my men. The scoun- 
drels were kept close prisoners during the whole voyage to 
France, while my lot was made as light as possible, under the 
severe sentence awarded at San Luis. 

The passage was short. At Brest, they landed me privately, 
while my men and officers were paraded through the streets at 
mid-day, under a file oi gens (Tarmes. I am especially grateful 
to the commander of this frigate, who alleviated my sufferings 
by his generous demeanor in every respect, and whose repre- 
sentations to the government of France caused my sentence to 
be subsequently modified to simple imprisonment. 

I have so many pleasant recollections of this voyage as a 
convict in the Flora, that I am loth to recount the following 
anecdote ; yet I hardly think it ought to be omitted, for it is 
characteristic in a double aspect. It exhibits at once the chival- 
ric courtesy and the coarse boorishness of some classes in the 
naval service of France, at the period I am describing. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 2S7 

On board our frigate there were two Sisters of Charity, who 
were returning to their parent convent in France, after five years 
of colonial self-sacrifice in the pestilential marshes of Africa. 
These noble women lodged in a large state-room, built expressly 
for their use and comfort on the lower battery-deck, and, accord- 
ing to the ship's rule, were entitled to mess with the lieutenants 
in their wardroom. It so happened, that among the ofl&cers, there 
was one of those vulgar dolts, whose happiness consists in making 
others as uncomfortable as possible, both by bullying manners 
and lewd conversation. He seemed to delight in losing no op- 
portunity to offend the ladies while at table, by ridiculing their 
calling and piety ; yet, not content with these insults, which the 
nuns received with silent contempt, he grew so bold on one occa- 
sion, in the midst of dinner, as to burst forth with a song so 
gross, that it would have disgraced the orgies of a cabaret. The 
Sisters instantly arose, and, next morning, refused their meals 
in the wardroom, soliciting the steward to supply them a sailor's 
ration in their cabin, where they might be free from dishonor. 

But the charitable women were soon missed from mess, and 
when the steward's report brought the dangerous idea of a court- 
martial before the terrified imagination of the vulgarians, a 
prompt resolve was made to implore pardon for the indecent offi- 
cer, before the frigate's captain could learn the outrage. It is 
needless to add that the surgeon — who was appointed ambassa- 
dor — easily obtained the mercy of these charitable women, and 
that, henceforth, our lieutenants' wardroom was a model of social 
propriety. 



The Prison of Brest. 

I was not very curious in studying the architecture of the 
strong stone lock-up, to which they conducted me in the stern 
and ugly old rendezvous of Brest. I was sick as soon as I 
beheld it from our deck. The entrance to the harbor, through 
the long, narrow, rocky strait, defended towards the sea by a 



288 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



I 



frowning castle, and strongly fortified towards the land, looker 
to me like passing through the throat of a monster, who was 
swallow me for ever. But I had little time for observation or I 
reflection on external objects, — my business was with interiors 
and when the polite midshipman with whom I landed bade fare- 
well, it was only to transfer me to the concierge of a prison 
within the royal arsenal. Here I was soon joined by the crew 
and officers. For a while, I rejected their penitence ; but a man 
who is suddenly swept from the wild liberty of Africa, and 
doomed for ten years to penitential seclusion, becomes wonder- 
fully forgiving when loneliness eats into his heart, and eternal 
silence makes the sound of his own voice almost insupportable. 
One by one, therefore, was restored at least to sociability ; so 
that, when I embraced the permission of our keeper to quit my 
cell, and move about the prison bounds, I found myself sur- 
rounded by seventy or eighty marines and seamen, who were 
undergoing the penalties of various crimes. The whole estab- 
lishment was under the surveillance of a naval commissary, sub- 
ject to strict regulations. In due time, two spacious rooms were 
assigned for my gang, while the jailer, who turned out to be an 
amphibious scamp, — half sailor, half soldier, — assured us, " on 
the honor of a vieux tnilitaire^^'' that his entire jurisdiction should 
be our limits so long as we behaved with propriety. 

Next day I descended to take exercise in a broad court-yard, 
over whose lofty walls the fresh blue sky looked temptingly ; and 
was diligently chewing the cud of bitter fancies, when a stout 
elderly man, in shabby uniform, came to a military halt before 
me, and, abruptly saluting in regulation style, desired the favor 
of a word. 

'' Far don ^ mon brave I " said the intruder, " but I should be 
charmed if Monsieur le capitaine will honor me by the informa- 
tion whether it has been his lot to enjoy the accommodations of 
a French prison, prior to the unlucky mischance which gives us 
the delight of his society ! " 

" No," said I, sulkily. 

" Encore," continued the questioner, " will it be disa- 
greeable, if I improve this opportunity, by apprising Monsieur 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 289 

le capitaine^ on the part of our companions and comrades, of the 
regulations of this roval institution ? " 

" By no means," returned I, somewhat softer. 

" Then, mon cher^ the sooner you are initiated into the mys- 
teries of the craft the better, and no one will go through the 
ceremony more explicitly, briefly and satisfactorily, than myself 
— le Caporal Blon. First of all, mon brdve^ and most indispen- 
sable, as your good sense will teach you, it is necessary that 
every new comer is bound to pay his footing among the " govern- 
ment hoarders ; " and as you, Monsieur le capitaine, seem to be 
the honored chef of this charming little squadron, I will make 
bold to thank you for a Louis cVor^ or a Napoleon^ to insure 
your welcome." 

The request was no sooner out than complied with. 

" Bien I " continued the corporal, " c'cst un hon enfant^ 
parbJeu ! Now, I have but one more mystere to impart, and 
that is a regulation which no clever chap disregards. We are 
companions in misery ; we sleep beneath one roof; we eat out of 
one kettle; — in fact, 7ious sommes freres^ and the secrets of 
brothers are sacred^ within these walls, from jailers and turn- 
leys ! " 

As he said these words, he pursed up his mouth, bent his 
eyes scrutinizingly into mine, and laying his finger on his lip, 
brought his right hand once more, with a salute, to the oily rem- 
nant of a military cap. 

I was initiated. I gave the required pledge for my party, 
and, in return, was assured that, in any enterprise undertaken 
for our escape, — which seemed to be the great object and concern 
of every body's prison-life, — we should be assisted and protected 
by our fellow- sufierers. 

Most of this day was passed in our rooms, and, at dark, after 
being mustered and counted, we were locked up for the night. 
For some time we moped and sulked, according to the fashion of 
all new convicts, but, at length, we sallied forth in a body to the 
court-yard, determined to take the world as it went, and make 
the best of a bad bargain. 

I soon fell into a pleasant habit of chatting familiarly with 
18 



290 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

old Corporal Blon, who was grand chamberlain, or master of cere- 
monies, to our penal household, and turned out to be a good 
fellow, though a frequent offender against " le coq de France.^'' 
Blon drew me to a seat in the sunshine, which I enjoyed, after 
shivering in the cold apartments of the prison ; and, stepping off 
among the prisoners, began to bring them up for introduction to 
Don Teodor, separately. First of all, I had the honor of re- 
ceiving Monsieur Laramie, a stout, stanch, well-built marine, 
who professed to be maitre cVarmes of our " royal boarding- 
house," and tendered .his services in teaching me the use of 
rapier and broadsword, at the rate of a franc per week. Next 
came a burly, beef-eating bully, half sailor, half lubber, who ap- 
proached with a swinging gait, and was presented B.sfrere Zouche, 
teacher of single stick, who was also willing to make me skilful 
in my encounters with foot-pads for a reasonable salary. Then 
followed a dancing-master, a tailor, a violin-teacher, a shoe- 
maker, a letter-writer, a barber, a clothes-washer, and various 
other useful and reputable tradespeople or professors, all of 
whom expressed anxiety to inform my mind, cultivate my taste, 
expedite my correspondence, delight my ear, and improve my 
appearance, for weekly stipends. 

I did not, at first, understand precisely the object of all their 
ceremonious appeals to my purse, but I soon discovered from 
Corporal Blon, — who desired an early discount of his note^ — 
that I was looked on as a sort of Don Magnifico from Africa, 
who had saved an immense quantity of gold from ancient traffic, 
all of which I could command, in spite of imprisonment. 

So I thought it best not to undeceive the industrious wretches, 
and, accordingly, dismissed each of them with a few kind words, 
and promised to accept their offers when I became a little more 
fapailiar with my quarters. 

After breakfast, I made a tour of the corridors, to see 
■^vh ether the representations of my morning courtiers were true ; 
and found the shoemakers and tailors busy over toeless boots 
and patchwork garments. One alcove contained the violinist 
and dancing-master, giving lessons to several scapegraces in the 
terpsichorean art ; in another was the letter-writer, laboriously 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 291 

adorning a sheet with cupids, hearts, flames, and arrows, while 
a love-lorn booby knelt beside him, dictating a message to his 
mistress ; in a hall I found two pupils of Monsieur Laramie at 
quart and tih-ce ; in the corridors I came upon a string of tables, 
filled with cigars, snufif, writing-paper, ink, pens, wax, wafers, nee- 
dles and thread ; while, in the remotest cell, I discovered a pawn- 
broker and gambling-table. Who can doubt that a real Gaul 
knows how to kill time, when he is unwillingly converted into a 
" government boarder," and transfers the occupations, amuse- 
ments, and vices of life, to the recesses of a prison ! 



Very soon after my incarceration at Brest, I addressed a 
memorial to the Spanish consul, setting forth the afflictions of 
twenty-two of his master's subjects, and soliciting the interfer- 
ence of our ambassador at Paris. We were promptly visited by 
the consul and an eminent lawyer, who asserted his ability to 
stay proceedings against the ratification of our sentence ; but, as 
the Spanish minister never thought fit to notice our misfortunes, 
the efforts of the lawyer and the good will of our consul were 
ineffectual. Three months glided by, while I lingered at Brest; 
yet my heart did not sink with hope delayed, for the natural 
buoyancy of my spirit sustained me, and I entered with avidity 
upon all the schemes and diversions of our stronghold. 

Blon kept me busy discounting his twenty sous notes, which 
I afterwards always took care to lose to him at cards. Then I 
patronized the dancing-master; took two months' lessons with 
Laramie and Zouche; caused my shoes to be thoroughly mended ; 
had my clothes repaired and scoured ; and, finally, patronized all 
the various industries of my comrades, to the extent of two hun- 
dred francs. 

Suddenly, in the midst of these diversions, an order came 
for our immediate transfer to the civil ]jrison of Brest, a gloomy 
tower in the walled chateau of that detestable town. 



292 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTER XLV. 

I WAS taken from one prison to the other in a boat, and once 
more spared the mortification of a parade through the streets, 
under a guard of soldiers. 

A receipt was given for the whole squad to the brigadier who 
chaperoned us. My men were summarily distributed by the 
jailer among the cells already filled with common malefactors ; 
but, as the appearance of the officers indicated the possession of] 
cash, the turnkey offered " la salle cle distinction " for our use, 
provided we were satisfied with a monthly rent of ten francs. 
I thought the French government was bound to find suitable 
accommodations for an involuntary guest, and that it was rather 
hard to imprison me first, and make me pay board afterwards ; 
but, on reflection, I concluded to accept the ofi"er, hard as it was, 
and, accordingly, we took possession of a large apartment, with 
two grated windows looking upon a narrow and sombre court- 
yard. 

We had hardly entered the room, when a buxom woman fol- 
lowed with the deepest curtseys, and declared herself " most 
happy to have it in her power to supply us with beds and bed- 
ding, at ten sous per day." She apprised us, moreover, that the 
daily prison fare consisted of two pounds and a half of black 
bread, with water a discretio)t. but if we wished, she might intro 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN StAVER. 293 

duce the vivandiere of the regiment, stationed in the chateau, 
who would supply our meals twice a day from the mess of the 
petty officers. 

My money had not been seriously moth-eaten during our pre- 
vious confinement, so that I did not hesitate to strike a bargain 
with Madame Sorret, and to request that la vivandiere might 
make her appearance on the theatre of action as soon as possible. 
Presently, the door opened again, and the dame reappeared ac- 
companied by two Spanish women, wives of musicians in the 
corps, who had heard that several of their countrymen had that 
morning been incarcerated, and availed themselves of the earliest 
chance to visit and succor them. 

For the thousandth time I blessed the noble heart that ever 
beats in the breast of a Spanish woman when distress or calamity 
appeals, and at once proceeded to arrange the diet of our future 
prison life. AVe were to have two meals a day of three dishes, 
for each of which we were to pay fifteen sous in advance. The 
bargain made, we sat down on the floor for a chat. 

My brace of Catalan visitors had married in this regiment 
when the Duke d'Angouleme marched his troops into Spain; and 
like faithful girls, followed their husbands in all their meanderings 
about France since the regiment's return. As two of my officers 
were Catalonians by birth, a friendship sprang up like wildfire 
between us, and from that hour, these excellent women not only 
visited us daily, but ran our errands, attended to our health, 
watched us like sisters, and procured all those little comforts 
which the tender soul of the sex can alone devise. 

I hope that few of my readers have personal knowledge of 
the treatment or fare of civil prisons in the provinces of France 
during the republican era of which I am writing. I think it well 
to set down a record of its barbarity. 

As I before said, the regular ration consisted exclusively of 
black bread and water. Nine pounds of straw were allowed 
weekly to each prisoner for his lair. Neither blankets nor cov- 
ering were furnished, even in the winter, and as the cells are 
built without stoves or chimneys, the wretched convicts were 
compelled to huddle together in heaps to keep from perishing. 



294 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

Besides this, the government denied all supplies of fresh rai- 
ment, so that the wretches who were destitute of friends or 
means, were alive and hideous with vermin in a few days after 
incarceration. No amusement was allowed in the fresh air save 
twice a week, when the prisoners were turned out on the flat roof 
of the tower, where they might sun themselves for an hour or two 
under the muzzle of a guard. 

Such was the treatment endured by twelve of my men during 
the year they continued in France. There are some folks who 
may be charitable enough to remark — that slavers deserved no 
better ! 

I believe that convicts in the central prisons of France, where 
they were either made or allowed to work, fared better in every 
respect than in the provincial lock-ups on the coast. There is no 
doubt, however, that the above description at the epoch of my in- 
carceration, was entirely true of all the smaller jurisdictions, 
whose culprits were simply doomed to confinement without labor. 

Often did my heart bleed for the poor sailors, whom I aided 
to the extent of prudence from my slender means, when I knew 
not how long it might be my fate to remain an inmate of the 
chateau. After these unfortunate men had disposed of all their 
spare garments to obtain now and then a meagre soup to moisten 
their stony loaves, they were nearly a year without tasting 
either meat or broth ! Once only, — on the anniversary of 
St. Philippe, — the Sisters of Charity gave them a pair of bul- 
lock's heads to make 2i festival in honor of the Good King of the 
French ! 



TWENTY YEAKS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 295 



CHAPTER XLVI. 

As the apartment rented by us from the jailer was the only one 
in the prison he had a right to dispose of for his own benefit, se- 
veral other culprits, able to pay for comfortable lodginc^s, were 
from time to time locked up in it. These occasional visitors af- 
forded considerable entertainment for our seclusion, as they were 
often persons of quality arrested for petty misdemeanors or po- 
litical opinions, and sometimes cJievalicrs d'indiistric, whose pro- 
fessional careers were rich with anecdote and adventure. 

It was probably a month after we began our intimacy with 
this "government boarding-house" that our number was in- 
creased by a gentleman of cultivated manners and foppish cos- 
tume. He was, perhaps, a little too much over-dressed with chains, 
trinkets, and perfumed locks, to be perfectly comme il faut^ yet 
there was an intellectual power about his forehead and eyes, and 
a bewitching smile on his lips, that insinuated themselves into 
my heart the moment I beheld him. He was precisely the sort 
of man who is considered by nine tenths of the world as a ver}' 
" fascinating individual." 

Accordingly, I welcomed the stranger most cordially in 
French, and was still more bewitched by the retiring shyness of 
his modest demeanor. As the jailer retired, a wink signified 
his desire to commune with me apart in his ofiice, where I learn- 



296 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

ed that the new comer had been arrested under a charge of coun- 
terfeitmg^ but on account of his genteel appearance and blood, was 
placed in our apartment. I had no doubt that neither appearance 
nor blood had been the springs of sympathy in the jailer's heart, 
but that the artificial money-maker had judiciously used certain 
lawful coins to insure better quarters. Nevertheless, I did not 
hesitate to approve the turnkey's disposal of the suspected felon, 
and begged him to make no apologies or give himself concern as 
to the quality of the article that could afford us a moment's 
amusement in our dreary den. 

I next proceeded to initiate my gentleman into the mysteries 
of the chateau ; and as dinner was about serving, I suggested that 
the most important of our domestic rites on such occasions, impe- 
ratively required three or four bottles of first rate claret. 

By this time we had acquired a tolerable knack of " slaugh- 
tering the evening." Our Spanish girls supplied us with guitars 
and violins, which my comrades touched with some skill. We 
were thus enabled to give an occasional soiree dansante, assisted 
by la Vivandiere, her companions Dolorescita, Concha, Madame 
Sorret, and an old maid who passed for her sister. The arrival 
of the counterfeiter enabled us to make up a full cotillon without 
the musicians. Our soirees^ enlivened by private contributions 
and a bottle or two of wine, took place on Thursdays and Sun- 
days, while the rest of the week was passed in playing cards, 
reading romances, writing petitions, flirting with the girls, and 
cursing our fate and the French government. Fits of wrath 
against the majesty of Gaul were more frequent in the early 
morning, when the pleasant sleeper would be suddenly roused 
from happy dreams by the tramp of soldiers and grating bolts, 
which announced the unceremonious entrance of our inspector to 
count his cattle and sound our window gratings. 

But time wastes one's cash as well as one's patience in prison. 
The more we grumbled, danced, drank, and eat, the more we spent 
or lavished, so that my funds looked very like a thin sediment 
at the bottom of the purse, when I began to reflect upon means of 
replenishing. I could not beg; I was master of no handicraft; 
nor was I willing to descend among the vermin of the common 






TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER, 297 

cbain-gang. Shame prevented an application to my relatives in 
France or Italy : and when I addressed my old partner or former 
friends in Cuba, I was not even favored with a reply. At last, 
my little trinkets and gold chronometer were sacrificed to pay 
the lawyer for a final memorial and to liquidate a week's 
lodging in advance. 

" Now, mon enfant,''^ said Madame Sorret, as she took my 
money, — trimming her cap, and looking at me with that thrifty 
interest that a Frenchwoman always knows how to turn to the 
best account ; — '• now, mon enfant, — this is your last franc and 
your last week in my apartment, you say ; — your last week in 
a room where you and I, and Babette, Dolorescita, and Concha, 
and Monsieur, have had such good times ! Mais joourquoi, mon 
cher ? why shall it be your last week ? Come let us think a bit. 
Won't it be a thousand times better ; won't it do you a vast 
deal more good, — if instead of sacrc-'mg le bon Loi^is Philippe, — 
paying lawyers for memorials that are never read, — hoping for 
letters from the Spanish envoy which never come, and eating 
your heart up in spite and bitterness — you look the matter plump 
in the face like a man, and not like a polisson, and turn to ac- 
count those talents which it has pleased le bon Dieu to give 
you ? Voyez vous, Capitaine T^odore, — you speak foreign lan- 
guages like a native ; and it was no longer than yesterday that 
Monsieur Randanne, your advocate, as lie came down from the 
last interview with you, stopped at my bureau, and — ' Ah ! Ma- 
dame Sorret,' said he, ' what a linguist poor Canot is, — how de- 
lightfully he speaks English, and how glad I should be if he had 
any place in which he could teach my sons the noble tongue of 
the great Skatspeer ! ' 

" Now, raon capitaine" continued she, " what the good Ran- 
danne said, has been growing in my mind ever since, like the 
salad seed in the box that is sunned in our prison yard. In 
fact, I have fixed the matter perfectly. You shall have my bed- 
room for a schoolhouse ; and, if you will, you may begin to-mor- 
row with my two sons for pupils, at fifteen francs a month ! " 

Did I not bless the wit and heart of woman again and again 
13* 



298 CAPTAIN CANOT ] OR, 

in my joy of industrial deliverance ! The heart of woman — that 
noble heart ! burn it in the fire of Africa ; steep it in the snow of 
Sweden ; lap it in the listless elysium of Indian tropics ; cage it 
in the centre of dungeons, as the palpitating core of that stony 
rind, — yet every where and always, throughout my wild career, 
has it been the last sought — but surest, sweetest, and truest of 
devoted friends ! 

Aide ioi, et Dieu V aider a I — was my motto from that mo- 
ment. For years it was the first lesson of intellectual power and 
self-reliance that had checkered a life of outlawry, in which ad- 
venturous impatience preferred the gambling risks of fortune to 
the slow accretions of regular toil. I was a schoolmaster ! 

Madame Sorret's plan was perfectly successful. In less than 
a week I was installed in her chamber, with a class formed of my 
lady's lads, a son and friend of my lawyer, and a couple of sons 
of officers in the chateau ; the whole producing a monthly income 
of fifty francs. As I assumed my vocation with the spirit of a 
needy professor, I gained the good will of all the parents by 
assiduous instruction of their children. Gradually I extended 
the sphere of my usefulness, by adding penmanship to my other 
branches of tuition ; and so well did I please the parents, that 
they volunteered a stipend of eighteen fra)ics more. 

I would not dare affirm, that my pupils made extraordinary 
progress ; yet I am sure the children not only acquired cleverly, 
but loved me as a companion. My scheme of instruction was 
not modelled upon that of other pedagogues ; for I simply con- 
tented myself, in the small class, with reasoning out each lesson 
thoroughly, and never allowing the boys to depart till tliey com- 
prehended every part of their task. After this, it was my habit to 
engage their interest i?i language^ by familiar dialogues, which 
taught them the names of furniture, apparel, instruments, imple- 
ments, animals, occupations, trades ; and thus I led them insen- 
sibly from the most simple nomenclature to the most abstract. 
I deprived the interview, as much as I could, of task-like for- 
mality ; and invariably closed the school with a story from my 
travels or adventures. I may not have ripened my scholars into 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 299 

classical Anglo-Saxons, but I have the happiness to know that I 
earned an honest living, supported my companions, and obtained 
the regard of my pupils to such a degree, that the little band 
accompanied me with tears to the ship, when, long afterwards, I 
was sent a happy exile from France. 



300 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



CHAPTER XLVII. 

1 HAVE said that our genteel felon was not only refined in man- 
ners but shy towards his new companions ; nor, for several weeks, 
could all our efi"orts rub off his reserve. I was not surprised that 
he kept aloof from the coarser inmates, but I was not prepared 
to find that all my own advances to confideDce and companionship, 
were repulsed with even more decision than those of my officers. 
At last, some passing event disclosed my true character to him, 
when I learned for the first time that he had mistaken me for a 
government spy ;■ inasmuch as he could not otherwise account for 
my intimacy with Madame Sorret and her spouse. 

Our first move towards confidence was owing to the follow- 
ing circumstance. I had been engaged one forenoon in writing 
a letter to my mother, when Madame Sorret sent for me to see the 
Sisters of Charity, who were making their rounds with a few 
comforts for the convicts. I made my toilette and repaired to 
the parlor, where the charitable women, who heard many kind 
things of me from the landlady, bestowed a liberal donation of 
books. Returning quickly to my letter, which I had left open 
on the table, confident that no one in the room read Italian, I 
again took up my pen to finish a paragraph. But, as I observed 
the page, it seemed that I had not written so much, yet the sheet 
was nearly full of words, and all in my handwriting. I reperused 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 301 

the document and found several lines, which, though in perfect 
keeping with the sense and context of the composition, were cer- 
tainly not in mj natural style. I was sure I had not used the 
complimentary language, to which I am always so averse. Still 
I read the page again — again — and again ! I got up ; walked 
about the room ; took the paper to the window ; put it down ; 
walked about again, and then reperused the letter. For my life, 
I could not detect the precise difficulty that puzzled me. The 
paper was, perhaps, bewitched ! It was mine, and yet it was not ! 
In my dilemma, I rolled out a round Spanish carramba or two ; 
and, with an Ave Maria of utter bewilderment, began to put up 
my writing materials. 

My companions, who had been huddled in a corner, watching 
my actions, could stand it no longer, but bursting into peals of 
hearty laughter, announced that Monsieur Germaine had taken 
the liberty to add a postscript, while I was deep in literature 
with the Sisters of Charity ! 

The ice was broken ! Monsieur Germaine was not yet con- 
victed, so we gave him the benefit of the British law, and resolving 
to " consider the fellow innocent till proved to be guilty," we 
raised him to the dignity of companionship. His education 
was far superior to mine, and his conversational powers were 
wonderful. He seemed perfectly familiar with Latin and Greek, 
and had a commanding knowledge of history, theology, mathe- 
matics, and astronomy. I never met his equal in penmanship, 
drawing, and designing. 

A few days of sociability sufficed to win a mutual confidence, 
and to demand the mutual stories of our lives. 

Germaine was born so high up on those picturesque borders 
of Piedmont, that it was difficult to say whether the Swiss or 
Italian predominated in his blood. The troubles and wars of 
the region impoverished his parents, who had been gentlefolks in 
better times ; yet they managed to bestow the culture that made 
him the accomplished person I have described. No opportunity 
offered, however, for his advancement as he reached maturity, 
and it was thought best that he should go abroad in search of 
fortune. For a while the quiet and modest youth was successful 



302 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

in the humbler employments to which he stooped for bread ; but 
his address and talents, and especially his skill in designing and 
penmanship, attracted the notice of a sharper, with •whom he 
accidentally became intimate ; so that, before he knew it, the 
adroit scrivener was both used and compromised by the knave. 
In truth, I do not suppose that Germaine's will was made of 
stern and tough materials. Those soft and gentle beings are 
generally disposed to grasp the pleasures of life without labor ; 
and whenever a relaxed conscience has once allowed its possessor 
to tamper with crime, its success is not only a stimulant but a 
motive for farther enterprise. Germaine was soon a successful 
forger. He amassed twenty or thirty thousand francs by prac- 
tices so perfect in their execution, that he never dreamed of 
detection. But, at last, a daring speculation made him our com- 
panion in the tower. 

Three days before his introduction to the chateau of Brest, 
and a few hours before the regular departure of the Paris mail, 
Germaine called on an exchange broker with seventeen thousand 
francs in gold, with which he purchased a sight draft on the 
capital. Soon after he called a second time on the broker, and 
exhibiting a letter of orders, bearing a regular post-mark, ffom 
his principals, who were alleged to be oil merchants at Mar- 
seilles, desired to countermand the transaction, and receive back 
his gold for the bill of exchange which he tendered. The prin- 
cipal partner of the brokers did not happen to be within at the 
moment, and the junior declined complying till his return. En 
attendant, Monsieur Germaine sallied forth, and oifered a neigh- 
boring broker an additional half per cent, on the current value 
of gold for the cash. He expressed, as the cause of this sacri- 
fice, extreme anxiety to depart by the four o'clock diligence, but 
the urgency aroused the broker's suspicion, and led him to 
request Germaine's return in half an hour, which he required to 
collect the specie. 

The incautious forger went off to his hotel with the promise 
in his ear, while the wary broker dropped in on the drawers of 
the draft to compare notes. The result of the interview was a 
visit to the bureau de police, whence a couple of officers were 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 3C3 

despatched to Germaine's hotel. They entered the dandy's room 
in disguise, but they were not quick enough to save from destruc- 
tion several j^'f'oof impressions of blank drafts, which the coun- 
terfeiter cast into the fire the moment he heard a knock at his 
door. In his trunks, they found engraving tools, a small press, 
various acids and a variety of inks ; all of which were duly noted 
and preserved, while Monsieur Grermaine was committed to the 
chateau. 

In those days there were no electric wires, and as the wea- 
ther became thick and cloudy-, the old-fashioned semaphore or 
telegraph was useless in giving notice to the Parisian police to 
stop the payment of a suspected draft, and arrest the forger's 
accomplice in the capital. 

Soon after the mail of that day from Brest reached the 
metropolis, a lady of most respectable appearance, clad in mourn- 
ing, presented herself at the counter of the broker's Parisian 
correspondent, and exhibiting an unquestionable draft, drew 
seventeen thousand francs. From the rapidity with which the 
whole of this adroit scheme was accomplished in Brest and Paris, 
it seems that Germaine required but four hours to copy, engrave, 
print and fill up the forged bill ; and yet, so perfectly did he 
succeed, that when the discharged draft came back to Brest, 
neither drawers, brokers, nor police could distinguish between the 
true one and. the false ! No one had seen Germaine at work, or 
could prove complicity with the lady. The mourning dame 
was nowhere to be found in Paris, Brest or Marseilles ; so that 
when I finally quitted the chMcau.^ the adroit chevalier was still 
an inmate, but detained only on siisjncion ! 



304 



CHAPTER XLVIII. 

This charming young soldier of fortune -was our room-mate for 
nine months, and engaged in several of our enterprises for escape. 
But Germaine was more a man oi fijiesse than action, and his im- 
prisonment was the first mishap of that nature in his felonious 
career ; so that I cannot say I derived much advantage, either 
from his contrivances or suggestions. 



I always cultivated a sneaking fondness for the sex, and was, 
perhaps, especially devoted to those who 7night aid me if they 
pleased, when I got into difficulties. Into this category, under 
existing circumstances, fell that very worthy person, Mademoi- 
selle Babette, whom I have heretofore rather ungallantly reported 
as an " antique virgin." It is true that Babette was, perhaps, 
not as young as she had been ; but an unmarried Frenchwoman 
is unquestionably possessed of an elixir against age, — some 
eau restoratif^ — with which she defies time, preserves her out- 
lines, and keeps up that elastic gayety of heart, which renders 
her always the most delightful of companions. Now, I do not 
pretend, when I flirted with Babette, and sometimes made 
downright love to the damsel, that I ever intended leading her 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 305 

to any of the altars of Brest, when it should please the '' king of 
the barricades" to release me from prison. No such design ever 
possessed my mind, at the age of twenty-seven, towards a maid 
of thirty. Yet, I confess that Babette bewitched the sting and 
memory from many an hour of prison-life, and played the com- 
edy of love a la Francaise to such perfection, that I doubt not 
her heart rebounded from the encounter as scarless as my own. 

Germaine joked me very often about the tender passion, the 
danger of trifling with youthful hearts, and the risk I ran from 
encounters with such glittering eyes ; till, one day, he suggested 
that we should take advantage of the flirtation, by turning it to 
our benefit in flight. Sorret and his wife often went out in the 
afternoon, and left the gate and the keys solely in charge of 
Babette, who improved their absence by spending half the time 
in our apartment. Now, Germaine proposed that, during one of 
these absences, I should, in my capacity as teacher, feign some 
excuse to leave our room, and, if I found the lieutenant porter- 
ess unwilling to yield the keys to my passionate entreaty, we 
would unhesitatingly seize, gag, and muffle the damsel so securely, 
that, with the keys in our possession, we might open the gates, 
and pass without question the only sentinels who guarded the 
exterior corridor. Germaine was eloquent upon the merit of his 
scheme, while, to my mind, it indicated the bungling project of a 
beginner, and was promptly rejected, because I would not injure 
with violence the innocent girl I had trifled with, and because I 
would not dishonor the kindness of Sorret and his wife, by com- 
promising their personal vigilance. 

Next morning, Germaine turned over to me long before day- 
light, and whispered his delight that I had discarded his scheme, 
for it " never could have been perfected without passports to 
quit the towm ! " This deficiency, he said, had absorbed his 
mind the livelong night, and, at last, a bright thought suggested 
the supply. 

" Babette," continued the forger, " is not to be molested in 
any way, so you may make your mind easy about your sweet- 
heart, thougli I am afraid she will not be able to accompany us 
in our enterprise. First and foremost, we must have a visit 



306 CAPTAIN" canot: or. 

from our Spanish girls to-morrow, and, as you enjoy more influ- 
ence than Ij it will be best for you to prepare them. Dolores, 
who is bj far the cleverest of the party, is to go with Concha 
boldly to the prefecture of police, and demand passport.s for 
Paris. These, in all likelihood, will be furnished without ques- 
tion. The passports once in hand, our demoiseUes must be off 
to an apothecary's for such acids as I shall prescribe ; and then, 
fiwn capifainc, leave the rest to me ! '' 

I turned the matter over in my mind, pretending to finish a 
morning nap, and, while we were dressing, assented. The Span- 
ish women, who never refused their countrymen a favor, daringly 
obtained the passports, and smuggled them into prison with the 
re^juired acids. Before night the deed was done ; the gender 
of the documents was changed ; Germaine was metamorphosed 
into " Pietro Sazzolini" a tailor, and I was turned into a cer- 
tain " Dominio) AtUonetti^'^ by trade a carpenter ! 

How to escape was our next concern. This could not be 
effected without breaking prison, — a task of some enterprise, as 
our apartment was above a store room, always closed, barred, and 
locked. The door of our room opened on a long passage, broken 
at intervals by several iron gates before the main portal was 
reached : so that our only hope was the single window, that illu- 
minated our apartment and looked into a small yard, guarded 
after sunset by a sentinel. This court, moreover, was entirely 
hemmed in bj a wall, which, if successfully escaladed. would 
lead us to the parade ground of the chateau. 

Days passed, while my dull brain and the kindled fancy of 
the new Naxzolini were inventing plans. Pietro had schemes 
enough, for his imagination was both vivid and ceaseless ; but 
whenever he came to reduce them to words, it was always found 
that they required a little more ^'polishing in certain links," 
which he forthwith retired to perform. 

One of our greatest difficulties was, how to deal with my 
officers, who had proved so false on the Senegal. We debated 
the matter for a long time ; but, considering that they were sick 
of long confinement and bereft of future comfort without my 
labor we resolved to let them partake our flight, though, once 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 307 

outside the chateau, we would abandon them to their own 
resources. 

Accordingly, we imparted our scheme, which was eagerly 
embraced ; and, through the kindness of our Spanish girls, we 
secretly despatched all our spare garments, so that we might not 
issue bare into the censorious world. 

All being prepared, it was proposed by Signore Pietro that 
New Year, which was at hand, should be signalized by our enter- 
prise. As I had carefully kept and secreted the saw received 
from my Goree friends, we possessed a most valuable implement ; 
so that it was resolved to attack a bar the moment we had been 
mustered and locked up on that auspicious night. At eleven, a 
descent into the court beneath the window was to be commenced, 
and, if this proved successful, there was no doubt we could reach 
the beach across the parade. But the sentinel still required 
" polishing " out of the courtyard! This was a tremendous 
obstacle ; still, Germaine once more put on his fancy-wings, and 
recommended that our fair Catalans, whose occupation made 
them familiar with the whole regiment, should ascertain the sen- 
tinels for the night in question, and, as it was a festival, they 
might easily insinuate a few bottles of brandy into the guard- 
house, and prepare the soldiery for sleep instead of vigilance. 
But the success and merit of this plan were considered so doubt- 
ful, tbat another scheme was kept in reserve to silence the sol- 
dier whose duty required a continual march beneath our window. 
If the women failed to accomplish our wishes with liquor, and if 
the sentry persisted in a vigilant promenade, it was proposed, as 
soon as the bar parted, to drop the noose of a lazoo quietly over 
his head, and dragging him with a run to the window-sill, knock 
out his brains, if necessary, with the iron. 

The last days of December were at hand ; every body was 
busy with hope or preparation ; the women carried off our gar- 
ments ; then they brought us an abundance of fishing lines, 
hidden beneath their petticoats ; and, finally, a rope, strong 
enough to hang a man, was spun in darkness by the whole 
detachment. 

The wished-for day at length came, with the jollity, merri- 



308 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



ment, and drunkenness, that attend it almost universally through 
out la belle France. But there was not so sober a party in the 
kingdom as that which was anxiously gathered together over a 
wineless meal in the chateau of Brest. We trembled lest a 
word, a traitor, or an accident, should frustrate our hope of life 
and freedom. 

In the afternoon, our Spanish women, gay with fresh apparel, 
dashing ribbons, and abundant claret, visited their fluttering 
birds in the cage, and assured success. The sergeant of the 
guard was married to one of their intimate friends, and, in her 
company, they were confident, on such a night, of reaching the 
guard-room. A long embrace, perhaps a kiss, and a most aifec- 
tionate farewell ! 

Supper was over. Muster passed. Oh ! how slowl}'- was 
drawn the curtain of darkness over that shortest of days. Would 
night ne'ver come ? It did. By eight o'clock the severed bar 
hung by threads, while the well greased lazo lay coiled on the 
sill. Nine o'clock brought the sentinel, who began his customary 
tramp with great regularity, but broke forth in a drinklug song 
as soon as the sergeant was out of hearing. 

So impatient were my comrades for escape, that they declined 
waiting till the appointed hour of eleven, and, at ten, ranged 
themselves along the floor, with the end of the rope firmly 
grasped, ready for a strong and sudden pull, while the intrepid 
Gerniaine stood by, bar in hand, ready to strike, if ncctssary. 
At a signal from me, after I had dropped the lazo, they were to 
haul up, make fast, and follow us through the aperture by a 
longer rope, which was already fastened for our descent. 

Softly the sash was opened, and, stretching my neck into the 
darkness, I distinctly saw, by a bright star-light, the form of the 
sentinel, pacing, with staggering strides, beneath the casement. 
Presently, he came to a dead halt, at the termination of a roulade 
in his song, and, in a wink, the lazo was over him. A kick with 
my heel served for signal to the halliards, and up flew the pend- 
ant against the window-sill. But, alas ! it was not the sentinel 
The noose had not slipped or caught with sufficient rapidity, and 
escaping the soldier's neck, it only grasped and secured his chako 






TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 309 

and musket. In an instant, I saw the fatal misfortune, and, 
clearing the weapon, dropped M^plumh^ on the head of the tipsy 
and terrified guardsman. Its fall must have stunned and pros- 
trated the poor fellow, for not a word or groan escaped from the 
court-yard. 



310 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR 



CHAPTEK XLIX. 

Silent as was the sentinel after the restoration of his musket, it 
was, nevertheless, unanimously voted that our enterprise was a 
failure. Accordingly, the bar was replaced, the window closed, 
our implements stowed in the mattresses, and ourselves packed 
beneath the blankets, in momentary expectation of a visit from 
the jailer and military commander. We passed the night in 
feverish expectation, but our bolts remained undrawn. 

Bright and early, with a plenteous breakfast, appeared our 
spirited Spaniards, and, as the turnkey admitted and locked them 
in, they burst into a fit of uproarious laughter at our maladroit 
adventure. The poor sentinel, they said, was found, at the end 
of his watch, stretched on the ground in a sort of fainting fit 
and half frozen. He swore, in accounting for a bleeding skull, 
that an invisible hand from the store-room beneath us, had dealt 
him a blow that felled him to the earth ! His story was so silly 
and maudlin, that the captain of the guard, who remembered the 
festival and knew the tipsiness of the entire watch, gave no heed 
to the tale, but charged it to the account of New Year and 
eau de vie. We were sadly jeered by the lasses for our want of 
pluck, in forsaking the advantage fortune had thrown in our way, 
and I was specially charged to practise my hand more carefully 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 311 

with the lazo^ when I next got a chance on the plantations of 
Cuba, or among the vaqueros of Mexico. 

As we expected the daily visit from the punctual inspector, 
to try our bars with his iron rod, we hastened to secure our win- 
dow, and stuffing all the fissures with straw and rags, so as almost 
to exclude light, we complained bitterly to the official of the cold 
wind to which the apertures exposed us, and thus prevented him 
from touching the sash. Besides this precaution, we thought it 
best to get rid of our tools and cord in the same way we received 
them ; and thus terminated our project of escape. 

Soon after, I heard from a relative in Paris, that my petition 
had been presented to Louis Philippe, whose reception of it en- 
couraged a hope for my pardon. The news somewhat restored 
us to the good humor that used to prevail in our party, but 
which had been sadly dashed since our failure. Even Mon- 
sieur Germaine, saw in our anticipated liberation, a phantom of 
encouragement for himself, and began to talk confidentially of 
his plans. He fancied that I had been gradually schooled into 
a taste for misdemeanor^ so that he favored me with innumerable 
anecdotes of swindling, and countless schemes of future robbery. 
By making me an incipient accomplice, he thought to secure my 
aid either for his escape or release. 

I will take the liberty to record a single specimen of Ger- 
maine's prolific fancy in regard to the higher grades of elegant 
felony, and will leave him to the tender mercy of the French 
government, which allows no bail for such chevaliers but chastises 
their crime with an iron hand. 

We had scarcely recovered from our trepidation, when the 
forger got up one morning, with a radiant face, and whispered 
that the past night was fruitful to his brain, for he had planned 
an enterprise which would yield a fortune for any two who were 
wise and bold enough to undertake it. 

Germaine was a philosophic felon. It was perhaps the trick 
of an intellect naturally astute, and of a spirit originally refined, 
to reject the vulgar baseness of common pilfering. Germaine 
never stole or defrauded ; — he only outwitted and outgeneralled. 
If he spoke of the world, either in politics or trade, he insisted 



312 



f 



tbat shams, forgeries, and counterfeits were quite as much played 
off in the language, address and dealings of statesmen, merchants, 
parsons, doctors, and lawyers, as they were by himself and his 
accomplices. The only difference between the felon and the 
jury, he alleged, existed in the fact that the jury was in the 
majority and the felon in the vocative. He advocated the worst 
forms of liberty and equality ; he was decidedly in favor of a 
division of property, which he was sure would end what the law 
called crime, because all would be supplied on the basis of a 
common balance. Whenever he told his ancient exploits or sug- 
gested new ones, he glossed them invariably with a rhetorical' 
varnish about the laws of nature, social contracts, human rights, 
vieum and tuum ; and concluded, to his perfect satisfaction, 
with a favorite axiom, that " he had quite as much right to the 
world's goods as they who possessed them." 

A hypocritical farrago of this character always prefaced one 
of Germaine's tales, so that I hardly ever interrupted the rogue 
when he became fluent about social theories, but waited pa- 
tiently, in confidence that I was shortly to be entertained with 
an adventure or enterprise. 

The forger began his story on this occasion with a most fan- 
tastical and exaggerated account of the celebrated Sa?itissima 
Casa of Loretto, which he imagined was still endowed with all 
the treasures it possessed anterior to its losses during the pontifi- 
cate of Pius VI. He asserted that it was the richest tabernacle 
in Europe, and that the adornments of the altar were valued at 
several millions of crowns, — the votive offerings and legacies of 
devotees during a long period of time. 

This holy and opulent shrine, the professor of politico-econo- 
mico-equality proposed to rob at some convenient period ; and, 
to effect it, he had "polished" the following plan during the 
watches of the night. 

On some stormy day of winter, he proposed to leave Ancona, 
as a traveller from South America, and approaching the convent 
attached to the church of the Madonna of Loretto, demand hos- 
pitality for a penitent who had made the tiresome pilgrimage on 
a vow to the Virgin. There could be no doubt of his admission. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 313 

For three days he would most devoutly attend matins and ves- 
pers, and crave permission to serve as an acolyte at the altar, the 
duties of which he perfectly understood. When the period of 
his departure arrived, he would be seized with sudden illness, 
and, in all likelihood, the brethren would lodge him in their in- 
firmary. As his malady increased, he would call a confessor, 
and, pouring into the father's credulous ear a tale of woes, sor- 
rows, superstition and humbug, he would make the convent a 
donation of all his estates in South America, and pray for a 
remission of his sins ! 

When this corned}^ was over, convalescence should supervene; 
but he would adhere with conscientious obstinacy to his dying 
gift, and produce documents showing the immense value of the 
bequeathed property. Presently, he would be suddenly smitten 
with a love for monastic life ; and, on his knees, the Prior was to 
be interceded for admission to the brotherhood. All this, pro- 
bably, would require time, as well as playacting of the adroitest 
character ; yet he felt confident he could perform the drama. 

At last, when a vow had sealed his novitiate, no one of 
the fraternity should exceed him in fervent piety and bodily 
mortification. Every hour would find him at the altar before 
the Virgin, missal in hand, and eyes intent on the glittering 
image. This incessant and unw^atchcd devotion, he calculated, 
would enable him in two months to take an impression of all the 
locks in the sacristy ; and, as his confederate would call every 
market-day at the convent gate, in the guise of a pedler, he could 
easily cause the keys to be fabricated in different villages by 
common locksmiths. 

Germaine considered it indispensable that his colleague in 
this enterprise should be a sailor ; for the flight with booty was 
to be made over sea from Ancona. As soon, therefore, as the 
keys were perfected, and in the hands of the impostor, the 
mariner was to cause a felucca to cruise off shore, in readiness 
for immediate departure. Then, at a fixed time, the pedler 
should lurk near the convent, with a couple of mules ; and, iu 
the dead of night, the sacrilege would be accomplished. 
14 



314 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

When he finished his story, the pleasant villain rubbed his 
hands with glee, and skipping about the floor like a dancing- 
master, began to whistle " La Marseillaise.'''' That night, he 
retired earlier than usual, " to polish," as he said ; but before 
dawn he again aroused me, with a pull, and whispered a sudden 
fear that his " Loretto masterpiece " would prove an abortion ! 

" I have considered," said he, " that the Virgin's jewels are 
probably nothing but false stones and waxen pearls in pinchbeck 
gold ! Surely, those cunning monks would never leave such an 
amount of property idle, simply to adorn a picture or statue ! 
No, I am positive they must have sold the gems, substituted 
imitations, and bought property for their opulent convents ! " — 
As I felt convinced of this fact, and had some inkling of a recol- 
lection about losses during a former reign, I was happy to hear 
that the swindler's fancy had " polished" the crime to absolute 
annihilation. 

And now that I am about to leave this forging philosopher 
in prison, to mature, doubtless, some greater act of villany, I 
will merely add, that when I departed, he was constructing a 
new scheme, in which the Emperor of Russia was to be vic- 
tim and paymaster. As my liberation occurred before the 
finishing touches were given by the artist, I am unable to say 
how it fared with Nicholas ; but I doubt, exceedingly, whether 
the galleys of Brest contained a greater scoundrel, both in deeds 
and imaginings, than the metaphysical dandy — Monsieur Ger- 
maine.^ 

At length, my pardon and freedom came ; but this was the 
sole reparation I received at the hands of Louis Philippe, for 
the unjust seizure and appropriation of my vessel in the neutral 
waters of Africa. When Sorret rushed in, followed by his wife, 
Babette, and the children, to announce the glorious news, the 

^ I know not what was his fate ; but he has probably long since real- 
ized his dream of equality, though, in all likelihood, it was the equality 
described by old Patris of Caen : 

" Ici tous sont egaux ; je ne te dois plus rien : 
Je Buis sur mon fumier comme toi sur le tien 1 " 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 315 

good fellow's emotion was so great, that he stood staring at me 
like a booby, and for a long while could not articulate. Then 
came La Vivandiere Dolores, and my pretty Concha. Next 
arrived Monsieur Randanne, with the rest of my pupils ; so that, 
in an hour, I was overwhelmed with sunshine and tears. I can 
still feel the grasp of Sorret's hand, as he led me beyond the 
bolts and bars, to read the act of royal grace. May we not feel 
a spasm of regret at leaving even a prison ? 

Next day, an affectionate crowd of friends and pupils followed 
the emancipated slaver to a vessel, which, by order of the king, 
was to bear me, a willing exile, from France for ever. 



316 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTER L. 

I SAID, at the end of the last chapter, that my friends bade adieu 
on the quay of Brest to an " emancipated slaver ;" for slaver I 
was determined to continue, notwithstanding the capture of my 
vessel, and the tedious incarceration of my body. Had the seizure 
and sentence been justly inflicted for a violation of local or inter- 
national law, I might, perhaps, have become penitent for early 
sins, during the long hours of reflection afforded me in the cJia- 
teau. But, with all the fervor of an ardent and thwarted nature, 
I was much more disposed to rebel and revenge myself when 
opportunity occurred, than to confess my sins with a lowly and 
obedient heart. Indeed, most of my time in prison had been 
spent in cursing the court and king, or in reflecting how I should 
get back to Africa in the speediest manner, if I was ever lucky 
enough to elude the grasp of the model monarch. 

The vessel that bore me into perpetual banishment from 
France, was bound to Lisbon ; but, delaying in Portugal only 
long enough to procure a new passport, under an assumed name, 
I spat upon Louis Philippe's " eternal exile," and took shipping 
for his loyal port of Marseilles ! Here I found two vessels fit- 
ting for the coast of Africa ; but, in consequence of the frightful 
prevalence of cholera, all mercantile adventures were temporarily 
suspended. In fact, such was the panic, that no one dreamed 
of despatching the vessel in which I was promised a passage, 
until the pestilence subsided. Till this occurred, as my means 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFillCAN SLAVER. 317 

were of the scantiest character, I took lodgings in an humble 
hotel. 

The dreadful malady was then apparently at its height, and 
nearly all the hotels were deserted, for most of the regular in- 
habitants had fled ; while the city was unfrequented by strangers 
except under pressing duty. It is altogether probable that the 
lodging-houses and hotels would have been closed entirely, so 
slight was their patronage, had not the prefect issued an order, 
depriving of their licenses, for the space of two years, all who shut 
their doors on strangers. Accordingly, even when the scourge 
swept many hundred victims daily to their graves, every hotel, 
caffe, grocery, butcher shop, and bakery, was regularly opened in 
Marseilles ; so that a dread of famine was not added to the fear 
of cholera. 

Of course, the lowly establishment where I dwelt was not 
thronged at this epoch ; most of its inmates or frequenters had 
departed for the country before my arrival, and I found the 
house tenanted alone by three boarders and a surly landlord, who 
cursed the authorities for their compulsory edict. My reception, 
therefore, was by no means cordial. I was told that the procla- 
mation had not prevented the cook from departing; and that I 
must be content with whatever the master of the house could toss 
up for my fare. 

A sailor — especially one fresh from the chateau of Brest, — is 
not apt to be over nice in the article of cookery, and I readily 
accompanied my knight of the rueful countenance to his table 
(Vkoie^ which I found to be a long oval board, three fourths bare 
of cloth and guests, while five human visages clustered around 
its end. 

I took my seat opposite a trim dashing brunette, with the 
brightest eyes and rosiest cheeks imaginable. Her face was so 
healthily refreshing in the midst of malady and death, that I 
altogether forgot the cholera under the charm of her ardent gaze. 
Next me sat a comical sort of fellow, who did not delay in scrap- 
ing an acquaintance, and jocularly insisted on introducing all the 
company. 

" It's a case of emergency," said the droll, '' we have no time 



18 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



1 



to lose or to stand on the ceremony of fashionable etiquette. 
Here to-day, gone to-morrow — is the motto of Marseilles ! Hola ! 
Messieurs, shall we not make the most of new acquaintances 
when they may be so brief ? " 

I thanked him for his hospitality. I had so little to lose in 
this world, either of property or friends, that I feared the cholera 
quite as slightly as any of the company. " A thousand thanks," 
said I, " Monsieur, for your politeness ; I'll bury you to-morrow, 
if it is the cholera's pleasure, with ten times more pleasure now 
that I have had the honor of an introduction. A fashionable 
man hardly cares to be civil to a stranger — even if he happens to 
be a corpse ! " 

There was so hearty a cheer at this sally, that, in spite of the 
shallow soundings of my purse, I called for a fresh bottle, and 
pledged the party in a bumper all round. 

'' And now," continued ni}'' neighbor, '' as it may be necessary 
for some one of us to write your epitaph in a day or two, or, at 
least, to send a message of condolence and sympathy to your 
friends ; pray let us know a bit of your history, and what the devil 
brings you to Marseilles when the cholera thermometer is up to 
1000 degrees per diem ? " 

Very few words were necessary to impart such a name and 
tale as I chose to invent for the company's edification. " Santi- 
ago Ximenes," and my tawny skin betokened my nationality and 
profession, while my threadbare garments spoke louder than 
words that I was at suit with Fortune. 

Presently, after a lull in the chat, a dapper little prig of a 
dandy, who sat on my left, volunteered to inform me that he was no 
less a personage than le Docteur Du Jean, a medical practitioner 
fresh from Metropolitan hospitals, who, in a spirit of the loftiest 
philanthropy, visited this provincial town at his own expense to 
succor the poor. 

" Cest line belle dame, notre vis a vis, n'est elle pas mon 
cher P'' said he pointing to our patron saint opposite. 

I admitted without argument that she was the most charm- 
ing woman I ever saw out of Cuba. 

'' Cest ma cMre amie,''^ whispered he confidentially in ray 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 319 

ear, strongly emphasiziDg the \Yord " friend " and nodding very 
knowingly towards the lady herself. " At the present moment 
the dear little creature is exclusively under my charge and protec- 
tion, for she is en route to join her husband, a captain in the army 
at Algiers ; but, alas ! grace a Dicii^ there's no chance of a trans- 
port so long as this cursed pestilence blockades Marseilles ! 
Do you know the man on your right ? — No ! Bicii ! that's 

the celebrated S , the oratorical advocate about w'hom the 

papers rang when Louis Philippe began his assault on the press. 
He's on his way to Algiers too, and will be more successful in 
liberalizing the Arabs than the French. That old chap over 
yonder with the snuffy nose, the snuffy wig, and snuffy coat, is a 
grand speculator in horses, on his way to the richest cavalry corps 
of the army; and, as for our mditre dliolel at the head of this 
segment, iiauvre diahlc^ you see what he is without a revelation. 
The pestilence has nearly used him up. He sits half the day in 
his bureau on the stairs looking for guests who never come, reading 
the record which adds no name, cursing the cholera, counting a 
penitential ave ^.w^jmter on his rosary, and flying from the despair 
of silence and desertion to his pans to stew our wretched fare. 
Yo'ila iiion Jtcr^ la carte de la. table ! le Cholera ct scs Convives ! 

If there is a creature I detest in the world it is a flippant, 
intrusive, voluntary youth wlio thrusts his coversation and affairs 
upon strangers, and makes bold to monopolize their time with his 
unasked confidence. Such persons are always silly and vulgar 
pretenders ; and before Doctor Du Jean got through his descrip- 
tion of the lady, I had already classified him among my particular 
aversions. 

When the doctor nodded so patronizingly to the dame, and 
spoke of his friendly protectorate, I thought I saw that the 
quick-witted w^oman not only comprehended his intimation, but 
denied it by the sudden glance she gave me from beneath her 
thin and arching eyebrows. So, when dinner was over, witliout 
saying a word to the doctor, I made a slight inclination of the 
head to jMadame Duprez, and rising before the other guests, 
passed to her side and tendered my arm for a promenade on the 
balcony. 



320 



OR, 



" Mon docteur^'" said I as we left the room, " life, you know, 
is too short and precarious to suffer a nionoply of such blessincrs," 
— looking intently into the lady's eyes, — " besides which, we 
sailors, in defiance of you landsmen, go in for the most ' perfect 
freedom of the seas,' " 

Madame Duprez declared I was entirely right ; that I was no 
pirate. — '^ Mais, mon capitaine," said the fair one, as she leaned 
with a fond pressure on my arm, " I'd have no objection if you were, 
so that you'd capture me from that frightful gallipot ! Besides, you 
sailors are always so gallant towards the ladies, and tell us such 
delightful stories, and bring us such charming presents when you 
come home, and love us so much while you're in port, because 
you see so few when you are away ! Now is'nt that a delightful 
catalogue raisonn^ of arguments why women should love /cs 
mdtclot.s ? " 

" Pity then, madame," said I, " that you married a soldier.'^'' 

" Ah ! " returned the ready dame, " /didn't ; — that was my 
mother's match. In France, you know, the old folks marry us ; 
but we take the liberty to love whomsoever we please ! " 

'' But, what of Monaieur le capitaine^ in the present in- 
stance ? '' interrupted I inquiringly. 

" Ah ! fi done ! " said Madame, " what bad taste to speak of 
an absent, husband when you have the liberty to talk with a 
present wife ! " 

In fact, the lovely Helen of this tavern-Troy was the 
dearest of coquettes, whose fence of tongue was as beautiful a 
game of thrust and parry as I ever saw played with Parisian foils. 
Du Jean had been horribly mortified by the contemptuous manner 
in which the threadbare Spaniard bore off his imaginary prize ; 
and would probably have assailed me on the spot, before he knew 
my temper or quality, had not the lawyer drawn him aside on a 
plea of medical advice and given his inflamed honor time to cool. 

But the wit of Madame Duprez was not so satisfied by a 
single specimen of our mutual folly, as to allow the surgeon tc 
resume the undisputed post of cavaliere serviente which he oc 
cupied before my arrival. It was her delight to see us at logger- 
heads for her favor, and though we were both aware of her arrant 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER, 32 1 

coquetry, neither had moral courage enough, in that dismal time, 
to desist from offering the most servile courtesies. AVe mined 
and countermined, marched and counter-marched, deceived and 
re-deceived, for several days, without material advantage to either, 
till, at last, the affair ended in a battle. 

The prefecture's bulletin announced at dinner-time twelve 
hundred deaths ! but, in spite of the horror, or perhaps to drown 
its memory, our undiminished party called for several more bot- 
tles, and became uproariously gay. 

The conversation took a physiological turn ; and gradually 
the modern science of phrenology, which was just then becoming 
fashionable, came on the carpet. Doctor Du Jean professed 
familiarity with its mysteries. Spurzheim, he said, had been his 
professor in Paris. He could read our characters on our skulls 
as if they were written in a book. Powers, passions, propensi- 
ties, and even thoughts, could not be hidden from him ; — and, 
" who dared try his skill ? " 

" C'eat moi ! " said Madame Duprez, as she drew her chair 
to the centre of the room, and accepting the challenge, cast loose 
her beautiful hair, which fell in a raven torrent over snowy neck 
and shoulders, heightening tenfold every charm of face and 
figure. 

Du Jean was nothing loth to commence his tender manipula- 
tion of the charming head, wliose wicked mouth and teasing eyes 
shot glances of defiance at me. Several organs were disclosed 
and explained to the company ; but then came others which he 
ventured to whisper in her ears alone, and, as he did so, I noticed 
that his mouth was pressed rather deeper than I thought needful 
among the folds of her heavy locks. I took the liberty to hint 
rather jestingly that the doctor " cut quite too deep with his 
lips ; " but the coquette at once saw my annoyance, and persisted 
with malicious delight in making Du Jean whisper — heaven 
knows what — in her ear. In fact, she insisted that some of the 
organs should be repeated to her three or four times over, while, 
at each rehearsal, the doctor grew bolder in his dives among the 
curls, and the lady louder and redder in her merriment. 

At last, propriety required that the scene should be closed, 
14^ 



322 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



i 



and no one knew better than this arch coquette the precise limit 
of decency's bounds. Next came the lawyer's cranium ; then 
followed the horse-jockej and tavern-keeper ; and finally, it was 
my turn to take the stool, 

I made every objection I could think of against submitting 
to inspection, for I was sure the surgeon had wit enough not to 
lose so good a chance of quizzing or ridiculing me ; but a whis- 
pered word from Madame forced an assent, with the stipulation 
that Du Jean should allow me to examine his skull afterwards, 
pretending that if he had studied with Spurzheim, I had learned 
the science from Gall. 

The doctor accepted the terms and began his lecture. First 
of all my Jealousy was enormous, and only equalled by my Con- 
ceit and Envy. I was altogether destitute of Love, Friendship, 
or the Moral sentiments. I was an immoderate wine-bibber ; 
extremely avaricious ; passionate, revengeful, and blood-thirsty ; 
in fine, I was a monstrous conglomerate of every thing devilish 
and dreadful. The first two or three essays of the doctor amused 
the company and brought down a round of laughter ; but as he 
grew coarser and coarser, I saw the increasing disgust of our 
comrades by their silence, though I preserved my temper most 
admirably till he was done. Then I rose slowly from the seat, 
and pointing the doctor silently to the vacant chair, — for I could 
not speak with rage, — I took my stand immediately in front of 
him, gazing intently into his eyes. The company gathered 
eagerly round, expecting I would retaliate wittily, or pay him 
back in his coin of abuse. 

After a minute's pause I regained my power of speech, and 
inquired whether the phrenologist was ready. He replied affirm- 
atively ; whereupon my right hand discovered the bump of im- 
pudence with a tremendous slap on his left cheek, while my left 
hand detected the organ of blackguardism with equal prominence 
on his right ! 

It was natural that this new mode of scientific investigation 
was as novel and surprising as it was disagreeable to poor Du 
Jean ; for, in an instant, we were exchanging blows with intense 
zeal, and would probably have borrowed a couple of graves from 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 323 

the cholera, had not the boarders interfered. All hands, how- 
ever, were unanimous in my favor, asserting that Du Jean had 
provoked me beyond endurance ; and, as la belle Duprez joined 
heartily in the verdict, the doctor gave up the contest, and, ever 
after, " cut " the lady. 



24 CAPTAIN CA^'OT ; OR, 



CHAPTER LI. 

In the first lull of the jDestilence, the French merchantman was 
despatched from Marseilles, and, in twenty-seven days, I had the 
pleasure to shake hands with the generous friends, who, two 
years before, labored so hard for my escape. The colonial gov- 
ernment soon got wind of my presence notwithstanding my dis- 
guise, and warning me from Goree, cut short the joys of an 
African welcome. 

I reached Sierra Leone in time to witness the arbitrary pro- 
ceeding of the British government towards Spanish traders and 
coasters, by virtue of the treaty for the suppression of the slave 
trade. Six months after this compact was signed and ratified in 
London and Madrid, it was made known with the proverbial des- 
patch of Spain, in the Islands of Cuba and Porto Rico. Its stipu- 
lations were such as to allow very considerable latitude of judg- 
ment in captures ; and when prizes were once within the grasp 
of the British lion, that amiable animal was neither prompt to re- 
lease nor anxious to acquit. Accordingly, when I reached Sierra 
Leone, I beheld at anchor under government guns, some thirty 
or forty vessels seized by cruisers, several of which I have reason 
to believe were captured in the " Middle Passage," bound from 
Havana to Spain, but entirely free from the taint or design of 
slavery. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 325 

I was not so inquisitive or patriotic in regard to treaty rights 
and violations, as to daily from mere curiosity in Sierra Leone. 
My chief object was employment. At twenty-eight, after trials, 
hazards, and chances enough to have won half a dozen fortunes, 
I was utterly penniless. The Mongo of Kambia, — the Mahometan 
convert of Ahmah-de-Bellah, — the pet of the Ali-mami of Footha 
Yallon, — the leader of slave caravans, — the owner of barracoons, 
— and the bold master of clippers that defied the British flag, 
was reduced to the humble situation of coast-pilot and interpre- 
ter on board an American brig bound to the celebrated slave 
mart of Gallinas ! We reached our destination safely ; but I 
doubt exceedingly whether the " Reaper's " captain knows to this 
day that his brig was guided by a marine adventurer, who knew 
nothing of the coast or port save the little he gleaned in half a 
dozen chats with a Spaniard, who was familiar with this noto- 
rious resort and its surroundings. 

In the history of African servitude, no theatre of Spanish, 
Portuguese, British, or American action has been the scene of 
more touching, tragic, and inofitahle incidents than the one to 
which fortune had now directed my feet. 

Before the generous heart and far-seeing mind of America 
perceived hi Colonization the true secret of Africa's hope, the 
whole of its coast, from the Rio Gambia to Cape Palmas, with- 
out a break except at Sierra Leone, was the secure haunt of dar- 
ing slavers. The first impression on this lawless disposal of full 
fifteen hundred miles of beach and continent, was made by the 
bold establishment of Liberia ; and, little by little has its power 
extended, until treaty, purchase, negotiation, and influence, drove 
the trade from the entire region. After the firm establishment 
of this colony, the slave trade on the windward coast, north and 
west of Cape Palmas, was mainly confined to Portuguese settle- 
ments at Bissaos, on the Rios Grande, Nunez, and Pongo, at 
Grand and Little Bassa, New Sestros and Trade-town ; but the 
lordly establishment at Gallinas was the heart of the slave marts, 
to which, in fact, Cape Mesurado w\as only second in impor- 
tance. 

Our concern is now with Gallinas. Nearly one hundred 



326 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

miles northwest of Monrovia, a short and sluggij^h river, bearing 
this well-known name, oozes lazily into the Atlantic ; and, carry- 
ing down in the rainy season a rich alluvion from the interior, 
sinks the deposit where the tide meets the Atlantic, and forms 
an innumerable mesh of spongy islands. To one who approaches 
from sea, they loom up from its surface, covered with reeds and 
mangroves, like an immense field of fungi, betokening the damp 
and dismal field which death and slavery have selected for their 
grand metropolis. A spot like this, possessed, of course, no pe- 
culiar advantages for agriculture or commerce ; but its dangerous 
bar, and its extreme desolation, fitted it for the haunt of the out- 
law and slaver. 

Such, in all likelihood, were the reasons that induced Don 
Pedro Blanco, a well-educated mariner from Malaga, to select 
Gallinas as the field of his operations. Don Pedro visited this 
place originally in command of a slaver ; but failing to complete 
his cargo, sent his vessel back with one hundred negroes, whose 
value was barely sufiicient to pay the mates and crew. Blanco, 
however, remained on the coast with a portion of the Conquista- 
dor's cargo, and, on its basis, began a trade with the natives and 
slaver-captains, till, four years after, he remitted his owners the 
product of their merchandise, and began to flourish on his own 
account. The honest return of an investment long given over as 
lost, was perhaps the most active stimulant of his success, and 
for many years he monopolized the traffic of the Vey country, 
reaping enormous profits from his enterprise. 

Gallinas was not in its prime when I came thither, yet enough 
of its ancient power and influence remained to show the compre- 
hensive mind of Pedro Blanco. As I entered the river, and 
wound along through the labyrinth of islands, I was struck, first 
of all, with the vigilance that made this Spaniard stud the field 
with lookout seats, protected from sun and rain, erected some 
seventy-five or hundred feet above the ground, either on poles or 
on isolated trees, from which the horizon was constantly swept 
by telescopes, to announce the approach of cruisers or slavers. 
These telegraphic operators were the keenest men on the islands, 
who were never at fault, in discriminating between friend and foe. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 327 

About a mile from the river's mouth we found a group of islets, 
on each of which was erected the factory of some particuLir slave- 
merchant belonging to the grand confederacy. Blanco's estab- 
lishments were ou several of these marshy flats. On one, near 
the mouth, he had his place of business or trade with foreign ves- 
sels, presided over by his principal clerk, an astute and clever 
gentleman. On another island, more remote, was his residence, 
where the only white person was a sister, who, for a while, shared 
with Don Pedro his solitary and penitential domain. Here this 
man of education and refined address surrounded himself with 
every luxury that could be purchased in Europe or the Indies, 
and dwelt in a sort of oriental but semi-barbarous splendor, that 
suited an African prince rather than a Spanish grandee. Fur- 
ther inland was another islet, devoted to his seraglio, within 
whose recesses each of his favorites inhabited her separate estab- 
lishment, after the fashion of the natives. Independent of all 
these were other islands, devoted to the barracoons or slave-pri- 
sons, ten or twelve of which contained from one hundred to five 
hundred slaves in each. These barracoons were made of rough 
staves or poles of the hardest trees, four or six inches in diame- 
ter, driven five feet in the ground, and clamped together by 
double rows of iron bars. Their roofs were constructed of simi- 
lar wood, strongly secured, and overlaid with a thick thatch of 
long and wiry grass, rendering the interior both dry and cool. 
At the ends, watch-houses — built near the entrance — were ten- 
anted by sentinels, with loaded muskets. Each barracoon was 
tended by two or four Spaniards or Portuguese ; but I have 
rarely met a more wretched class of human beings, upon whom 
fever and dropsy seemed to have emptied their vials. 

Such were the surroundings of Don Pedro in 1836, when I 
first saw his slender figure, swarthy face, and received the graceful 
welcome, which I hardly expected from one who had passed fif- 
teen years without crossing the bar of Gallinas ! Three years 
after this interview, he left the coast for ever, with a fortune of 
near a million. For a while, he dwelt in Havana, engaged in 
commerce ; but I understood that family difficulties induced him 
to retire altogether from trade ; so that, if still alive, he is prob- 



328 CAPTAIN CANOT ", OR, 



ably a resident of " Geneva la Superba," whither he went from 
the island of Cuba. 

The power of this man among the natives is well known ; it 
far exceeded that of Cha-cha, of whom I have already spoken. 
Resolved as he was to be successful in traffic, he left no means 
untried, with blacks as well as whites, to secure prosperity. I 
have often been asked what was the character of a mind which 
could voluntarily isolate itself for near a lifetime amid the pesti- 
lential swamps of a burning climate, trafficking io human flesh, 
exciting wars, bribing and corrupting ignorant negroes ; totally 
without society, amusement, excitement, or change ; living, from 
year to year, the same dull round of seasons and faces ; without 
companionship, save that of men at war with law ; cut loose from 
all ties except those which avarice formed among European out- 
casts who were willing to become satellites to such a luminary 
as Don Pedro ? I have always replied to the question, that this 
African enigma puzzled me as well as those orderly and syste- 
matic persons, who would naturally be more shocked at the 
tastes and prolonged career of a resident slave-factor in the 
marshes of Gallinas. 

I heard many tales on the coast of Blanco's cruelty, but I 
doubt them quite as much as I do the stories of his pride and 
arrogance. I have heard it said that he shot a sailor for daring 
to ask him for permission to light his cigar at the piiro of the 
Don. Upon another occasion, it is said that he was travelling 
the beach some distance from Gallinas, near the island of Sher- 
bro, where he was unknown, when he approached a native hut for 
rest and refreshment. The owner was squatted at the door, and, 
on being requested by Don Pedro to hand him fire to light his 
cigar, deliberately refused. In an instant Blanco drew back, 
seized a carabine from one of his attendants, and slew the negro 
on the spot. It is true that the narrator apologized for Don 
Pedro, by saying, that to deny a Castilian^re/or his tobacco was 
the gravest insult that can be offered him ; yet, from my know- 
ledge of the person in question, I cannot believe that he carried 
etiquette to so frightful a pitch, even among a class whose lives 
are considered of trifling value excejpt in market. On several 



\ 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 329 

occasions, during our subsequent intimacy, I knew him to chas- 
tise with rods, even to the brink of death, servants who ventured 
to infringe the sacred limits of his seraglio. But, on the other 
hand, his generosity was proverbially ostentatious, not only 
among the natives, whom it was his interest to suborn, but 
to the whites who were in his employ, or needed his kindly 
succor. I have already alluded to his mental culture, which was 
decidedly soigne for a Spaniard of his original grade and time. 
His memory was remarkable. I remember one night, while sev- 
eral of his employes were striving unsuccessfully to repeat the 
Lord's prayer in Latin, upon which they had made a bet, that 
Don Pedro joined the party, and taking up the wager, went 
through the petition without faltering. It was, indeed, a sad 
parody on prayer to hear its blessed accents fall perfectly from 
such lips on a bet ; but when it was won, the slaver insisted on 
receiving tlie slave ivhich was the stake, and immediately' be- 
stowed him in charity on a captain, who had fallen into the 
clutches of a British cruiser ' 

Such is a rude sketch of the great man-merchant of Africa, 
the Rothschild of slavery, whose bills on England, France, or the 
United States, were as good as gold in Sierra Leone and Mon- 
rovia ! 



330 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



CHAPTEil LII. 

The day after our arrival within the realm of this great spider, — 
who, throned in the centre of his mesh, was able to catch almost 
every fly that flew athwart the web, — I landed at one of the 
minor factories, and sold a thousand quarter kegs of powder to 
Don Jose Ramon. But, next day, when I proceeded in my ca- 
pacity of interpreter to the establishment of Don Pedro, I found 
his Castilian plumage ruffled, and, though we were received with 
formal politeness, he declined to purchase, because we had failed 
to address hbn in advance of any other factor on the river. 

The folks at Sierra Leone dwelt so tenderly on the generous 
side of Blanco's character, that I was still not without hope that 
I might induce him to purchase a good deal of our rum and 
tobacco, which would be drugs on our hands unless he consented 
to relieve us, I did not think it altogether wrong, therefore, to 
concoct a little ruse whereby I hoped to touch the pocket through 
the breast of the Don. In fact, I addressed him a note, in which 
I truly related my recent mishaps, adventures, and imprison- 
ments ; but I concluded the narrative with a hope that he would 
succor one so destitute and unhappy, by allowing him to win an 
honest commission allowed by the American captain on any sales 
I could efi"ect. The bait took ; a prompt, laconic answer re- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 331 

turned ; I was bidden to come ashore with the invoice of our 
cargo ; and, /or my sake^ Don Pedro purchased from the Yankee 
brig $5000 worth of rum and tobacco, all of which was paid by 
drafts on London, of which slaves were, of course^ the original 
basis f My imaginary commissions, however, remained in the 
purse of the owners. 

An accident occurred in landing our merchandise, which will 
serve to illustrate the character of Blanco. While the hogs- 
heads of tobacco were discharging, our second mate, who suffered 
from strabismus more painfully than almost any cross-eyed man 
I ever saw, became excessively provoked with one of the native 
boatmen who had been employed in the service. It is probable 
that the negro was insolent, which the mate thought proper to 
chastise by throwing staves at the Krooman's head. The negro 
fled, seeking refuge on the other side of his canoe ; but the en- 
raged officer continued the pursuit, and, in his double-sighted 
blundering, ran against an oar which the persecuted black sud- 
denly lifted in self defence. I know not whether it was rage or 
blindness, or both combined, that prevented the American from 
seeing the blade, but on he dashed, rushing impetuously against 
the implement, severing his lip with a frightful gash, and knock- 
ing four teeth from his upper jaw. 

Of course, the luckless negro instantly fled to " the bush ; " 
and, that night, in the agony of delirium, caused by fever and 
dreaded deformity, the mate terminated his existence by lauda- 
num. 

The African law condemns the man who draws blood to a 
severe fine in slaves, proportioned to the harm that may have 
been inflicted. Accordingly, the culprit Krooman, innocent as 
he was of premeditated evil, now lay heavily loaded with irons in 
Don Pedro's barracoon, awaiting the sentence which the whites 
in his service already declared should be death. " He struck a 
white ! " they said, and the wound he inflicted was reported to 
have caused that white man's ruin. But, luckily, before the sen- 
tence was executed, / came ashore, and, as the transaction oc- 
curred in my presence, I ventured to appeal from the verdict of 
public opinion to Don Pedro, with the hope that I might excul- 



332 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

pate the Krooman. My simple and truthful story was sufficient. 
x\n order was instantly given for the black's release, and, in 
spite of native chiefs and grumbling whites, who were savagely 
greedy for the fellow's blood; Don Pedro persisted in his judg- 
ment and sent him back on board the " Reaper." 

The character manifested by Blanco on this occasion, and 
the admirable management of his factor}^, induced me to seize a 
favorable moment to oflPer my services to flie mighty trader. 
They were promptly accepted, and in a short time I was em- 
ployed as 2^ri)icipal in one of Don Pedro's branches. 

The Vey natives on this river and its neighborhood were not 
numerous before the establishment of Spanish factories, but since 
1813, the epoch of the arrival of several Cuban vessels with rich 
merchandise, the neighboring tribes flocked to the swampy flats, 
and as there was much similarity in the language and habits of 
the natives and emigrants, they soon intermarried and mingled in 
ownership of the soil. 

In proportion as these upstarts were educated in slave-trade 
under the influence of opulent factors, they greedily acquired the 
habit of hunting their own kind and abandoned all other occupa- 
tions but war and kidnapping. As the country was prolific and 
the trade profitable, the thousands and tens of thousands annu- 
ally sent abroad from Gallinas, soon began to exhaust the neigh- 
borhood ; but the appetite for plunder was neither satiated nor 
stopped by distance, when it became necessary for the neighbor- 
ing natives to extend their forays and hunts far into the interior. 
In a few years war raged wherever the influence of this river ex- 
tended. The slave factories supplied the huntsmen with powder, 
weapons, and enticing merchandise, so that they fearlessly ad- 
vanced against ignorant multitudes, who, too silly to compre- 
hend the benefit of alliance, fought the aggressors singly, and, 
of course, became their prey. 

Still, however, the demand increased. Don Pedro and his 
satellites had struck a vein richer than the gold coast. His 
flash barracoons became proverbial throughout the Spanish and 
Portuguese colonies, and his look-outs were ceaseless in their 
signals of approaching vessels. New factories were established, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 333 

as brandies, north and south of the parent den. Mana-Rock, 
Sherboro, Siigarei, Cape Mount, Little Cape Mount, and even 
Digbay, at the door of Monrovia, all had depots and barracoons 
of slaves belonging to the whites of Gallinas. 

But this prosperity did not endure. The torch of discord, in 
a civil war which was designed for revengeful murder rather than 
slavery, was kindled by a black Paris, who had deprived his un- 
cle of an Ethiopian Helen. Every bush and hamlet contained 
its Achilles and Ulysses, and every town rose to the dignity of 
a Troy. 

The geographical configuration of the country, as I have de- 
scribed it, isolated almost every family of note on various branches 
of the river, so that nearly all were enabled to fortify themselves 
within their islands or marshy flats. The principal parties in this 
family feud were the Amarars and Shiakars. Amarar was a 
native of Shebar, and, tlirough sevoral generations, had Man- 
dingo blood in his veins; — Shiakar, born on the river, consider- 
ed himself a noble of the land, and being aggressor in this con- 
flict, disputed his prize with the wildest ferocity of a savage. 
The whites, who are ever on the watch for native quarrels, 
wisely refrained from partisanship with either of the com- 
batants, but continued to purchase the prisoners brought 
to their factories by both parties. Many a vessel bore across the 
Atlantic two inveterate enemies shackled to the same bolt, while 
others niet on the same deck a long-lost child or brother who 
had been captured in the civil war. 

I might fill a volume with the narrative of this horrid con- 
flict before it was terminated by the death of Amarar. For se- 
veral months this savage had been blockaded in his stockade by 
Shiakar's warriors. At length a sortie became indispensable to 
obtain provisions, but the enemy were too numerous to justify 
the risk. Upon this, Amarar called his soothsayer, and required 
him to name a propitious moment for the sally. The oracle 
retired to his den, and, after suitable incantations, declared that 
the eff"ort should be made as soon as the hands of Amarar were 
stained in the blood of his own son. It is said that the prophet in- 
tended the victim to be a youthful son of Amarar, who had join- 



334 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

ed Ins mother's family, and was then distant ; but the impatient 
and superstitious savage, seeing a child of his own, two years 
old, at hand, when the oracle announced the decree, snatched the 
infant from his mother's arms, threw it into a rice mortar, and, 
with a pestle, mashed it to death ! 

The sacrifice over, a sortie was ordered. The infuriate and 
starving savages, roused by the oracle and inflamed by the 
bloody scene, rushed forth tumultuously. Amarar, armed with 
the pestle, still warm and reeking with his infant's blood, was 
foremost in the onset. The besiegers gave way and fled ; the 
town was re-provisioned ; the fortifications of the enemy demol- 
ished, and the soothsayer rewarded with a slave for his barbarous 
prediction ! 

At another time, Amarar was on the point of attacking a 
strongly fortified town, when doubts were intimated of suc- 
cess. Again the wizard was consulted, when the mysterious oracle 
declared that the chief " could not conquer till he returned once 
more to his mother's womhV That night Amarar committed 
the blackest of incests ; but his party was repulsed, and the false 
prophet stoned to death ! 

These are faint incidents of a savage drama which lasted se- 
veral years, until Amarar, in his native town, became the prisoner 
of Shiakar's soldiery. Mana, his captor, caused him to be deca- 
pitated ; and while the blood still streamed from the severed 
neck, the monster's head was thrust into the fresh-torn bowels 
of his mother ! 



TWENTY YEAKS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVEK. 335 



CHAPTEK LIII. 

The first expedition upon which Don Pedro Blanco despatched 
me revealed a new phase of Africa to my astonished eyes. I was 
sent in a small Portuguese schooner to Liberia for tobacco ; and 
here the trader who had never contemplated the negro on the 
shores of his parent country except as a slave or a catcher of 
slaves, first beheld the rudiments of an infant state, which in 
time may become the wedge of Ethiopian civilization. The com- 
fortable government house, neat public warerooms, large emigra- 
tion home, designed for the accommodation of the houseless ; 
clean and spacious streets, with brick stores and dwellings ; the 
twin churches with their bells and comfortable surroundings ; the 
genial welcome from well dressed negroes ; the regular wharves 
and trim craft on the stocks, and last of all, a visit from a colored 
collector with a prijited bill for twelve dollars " anchor dues," 
all convinced me that there was, in truth, something more in these 
ebony frames than an article of commerce and labor. I paid the 
bill eagerly, — considering that a document printed in Africa by 
Negroes, under North American influence, would be a curiosity 
among the infidels of Gallinas ! 

My engagements with Blanco had been made on the basis 
of familiarity with the slave-trade in all its branches, but my 
independent spirit and impatient temper forbade, from the first, 



33G CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

the acceptance of any subordinate position at Gallinas. Accord- 
ingly, as soon as I returned from the new Eepubiic, Don Pedro 
desired me to prepare for the establishment of a branch factory, 
under my exclusive control, at New Sestros, an independent 
principality in the hands of a Bassa chief. 

I lost no time in setting forth on this career of comparative 
independence, and landed with the trading cargo provided for 
me, at the Krooraen's town, where I thought it best to dwell till 
a factory could be built. 

An African, as well as a white man, must be drilled into the 
traffic. It is one of those things that do not " come by na- 
ture : " yet its mysteries are acquired, like the mysteries of com- 
merce generally, with much more facility by some tribes than others. 
I found this signally illustrated by the prince and people of New 
Sestros, and very soon detected their signal inferiority to the 
Soosoos, Mandingoes, and Veys. For a time their conduct was 
so silly, arrogant, and trifling, that I closed my chests and broke 
oif communication. Besides this, the slaves they offered were 
of an inferior character and held at exorbitant prices. Still, as 
I was commanded to purchase rapidly, I managed to collect 
about seventy-five negroes of medium grades, all of whom I de- 
signed sending to Gallinas in the schooner that was tugging at 
her anchor off the beach. 

At the proper time I sent for the black prince to assist me in. 
shipping the slaves^ and to receive the head money which was 
his export duty on my cargo. The answer to my message was an 
illustration of the character and insolence of the ragamuffins with 
whom I had to deal. " The prince," returned my messenger, 
" don't like your sauciness, Don Teodore, and won't come till 
you beg his pardon by a present ! " 

It is very true that after my visit to their republic, I began 
to entertain a greater degree of respect than was my wont, for 
black men, yet my contempt for the original, unmodified race was 
so great, that when the prince's son, a boy of sixteen, delivered 
this reply on behalf of his father, I did not hesitate to cram it 
down his throat by a back-handed blow, which sent the sprig of 
royalty bleeding and howling home. 



TWENIY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 337 

It may be easily imagined what was the condition of the na- 
tive town when the boy got back to the "palace," and told his 
tale of Spanish boxing. In less than ten minutes, another mes- 
senger arrived with an order for my departure from the country 
" before next day at noon ; " — an order which, the envoy declared, 
would be enforced by the outraged townsfolk unless I willingly 
complied. 

Now, I had been too long in Africa to tremble before a 
negro prince, and though I really hated the region, I determined 
to disobey in order to teach the upstart a lesson of civilized man- 
ners. Accordingly, I made suitable preparations for resistance, 
and, when my hired servants and harracooniers fled in terror at 
the prince's command, I landed some whites from my schooner, 
to aid in protecting our slaves. 

By this time, my house had been constructed of the frail bam- 
boos and matting which are exclusively used in the buildings of 
the Bassa country. I had added a cane verandah or piazza to 
mine, and protected it from the pilfering natives, by a high pali- 
sade, that effectually excluded all intruders. Within the area of 
this inclosure was slung my hammock, and here I ate my meals, 
read, wrote, and received " Princes " as well as the mob. 

At nightfall, I loaded twenty-five muskets, and placed them 
inside my sofa, which was a long trade-chest. I covered the 
deal-table with a blanket, beneath whose pendent folds I concealed 
a keg of powder with the head out. Hard by, under a broad- 
brimmed sombrero, lay a pair of double-barrelled pistols. With 
these dispositions of my volcanic armory, I swung myself asleep 
in the hammock, and leaving the three whites to take turns in 
watching, never stirred till an hour after sunrise, when I was 
roused by the war-drum and bells from the village, announcing 
the prince's approach. 

In a few minutes my small inclosure of palisades was filled 
with armed and gibbering savages, while his majesty, in the red 
coat of a British drummer, but without any trowsers, strutted 
pompously into my presence. Of course, I assumed an air of 
humble civility, and leading the potentate to one end of the guard- 
ed piazza, where he was completely isolated from his people, I 
15 



338 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR. 

stationed myself between the table and the sombrero. Some of 
the prince's relations attempted to follow him within my inclosure, 
but, according to established rules, they dared not advance be- 
yond an assigned limit. 

When the formalities were over, a dead silence prevailed for 
some minutes. I looked calmly and firmly into the prince's eyes, 
and waited for him to speak. Still he was silent. At last, get- 
ting tired of dumb-show, I asked the negro if he had " come to 
assist me in shipping my slavei; the sun is getting rather high," 
said I, " and we had better begin without delay ! " 

" Did you get my message ? " was his reply, " and why haven't 
you gone ? " 

'' Of course I received your message," returned I, " but as I 
came to New Sestros at my leisure, I intend to go away when it 
suits me, Besides this, Prince Freeman, I have no fear that you 
will do me the least harm, especially as I shall be hefore you in 
any capers of that sort." 

Then, by a sudden jerk, I threw off the blanket that hid the 
exposed powder, and, with pistols in hand, one aimed at the keg 
and the other at the king, I dared him to give an order for my 
expulsion. 

It is inconceivable how moving this process proved, not only 
to Freeman, but to the crowd comprising his body-guard. The 
poor blusterer, entirely cut off from his companions, was in a 
laughable panic. His tawny skin became ashen, as he bounded 
from his seat and rushed to the extremity of the piazza ; and, to 
make a long story short, in a few minutes he was as penitent and 
humble as a dog. 

I was, of course, not unforgiving, when Freeman advanced to 
the rail, and warning the blacks that he had " changed his mind," 
ordered the odorous crowd out of my inclosure. Before the ne- 
groes departed, however, I made him swear eternal fidelity and 
friendship in their presence, after \rhich I sealed the compact with 
a couple of demijohns of New-England rum. 

Before sunset, seventy-five slaves were shipped for me in hia 
canoes, and ever after. Prince Freeman was a n^odel monument of 
the virtues of gunpowder physic ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 339 



CHxYPTER LIV. 

The summary treatment of this ebony potentate convinced the 
Kroo and Fishmen of New Sestros that they would find my break- 
fast parties no child's play. Bold bravado had the best effect on the 
adjacent inland as well as the immediate coast. The free blacks 
not only treated my person and people with more respect, but 
began to supply me with better grades of negroes ; so that when 
Don Pedro found my success increasing, he not only resolved to 
establish a permanent factory, but enlarged my commission to ten 
slaves for every hundred I procured. Thereupon, I at once com- 
menced the erection of buildings suitable for my personal comfort 
and the security of slaves. I selected a pretty site closer to the 
beach, A commodious two-story house, surrounded by double 
verandahs, was topped by a look-out which commanded an ocean- 
view of vast extent, and flanked by houses for all *the necessities 
of a first-rate factory. There were stores, a private kitchen, a 
rice house, houses for domestic servants, a public workshop, a depot 
for water, a slave-kitchen, huts for single men, and sheds under 
which gangs were allowed to recreate from time to time during 
daylight. The whole was surrounded by a tall hedge-fence, thick- 
ly planted, and entered by a double gate, on either side of which 
were long and separate barracoons for males and females. The 
entrance of each slave-pen was commanded by a cannon, while in 
the centre of the square, I left a vacant space, whereon I have 



340 



CAPTAIN CANOT 1 OR, 



often seen seven hundred slaves, guarded by half a dozen mus- 
keteers, singing, drumming and dancing, after their frugal meals. 

It is a pleasant fancy of the natives, who find our surnames 
rather difficult of pronunciation, while they know very little of 
the Christian calendar, to baptize a new comer with some title, 
for which, any chattel or merchandise that strikes their fancy, is 
apt to stand godfather. My exploit with the prince christened 
me "Powder" on the spot; but when they saw my magnificent 
establishment, beheld the wealth of my warehouse, and heard the 
name of " store," I was forthwith whitewashed into " Storeey 

And " Storee^^^ without occupying a legislative seat in Africa, 
was destined to effect a rapid change in the motives and pros- 
pects of that quarter. In a few months, New Sestros was alive. 
The isolated beach, which before my arrival was dotted with half 
a dozen Kroo hovels, now counted a couple of flourishing towns, 
whose inhabitants were supplied with merchandise and labor in 
my factory. The neighboring princes and chiefs, confident of 
selling their captives, struggled to the sea-shore through the track- 
less forest ; and in a very brief period, Prince Freeman, who " no 
likee war " over my powder-keg, sent expedition after expedition 
against adjacent tribes, to redress imaginary grievances, or to settle 
old bills with his great-grandfather's debtors. There was no ab- 
solute idea of " extending the area of freedom, or of territorial 
annexation," but it was wonderful to behold how keen became the 
sovereign's sensibility to national wrongs, and how patriotically 
he labored to vindicate his country's rights. It is true, this Afri- 
can metamorphosis was not brought about without some sacrifice 
of humanity ;*still I am confident that during my stay, greater 
strides were made towards modern civilization than during the 
visit of any other factor. When I landed among the handful of 
savages I found them given up to the basest superstition. All 
classes of males as well as females, were liable to be accused upon 
any pretext by the ju-ju-men or priests, and the dangerous sawc^- 
wood potion was invariably administered to test their guilt or in- 
nocence. It frequently happened that accusations of witchcraft 
or evil practices were purchased from these wretches in order to 
get rid of a sick wife, an imbecile parent, or an opulent relative ; 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 341 

and, as the poisonous draught was mixed and graduated by theyi(-/i^- 
man^ it rarely failed to prove fatal when the drinker's death was 
necessary.* Ordeals of this character occurred almost daily in the 
neighboring country, of course destroying numbers of innocent 
victims of cupidity or malice. I very soon observed the frequency 
of this abominable crime, and when it was next attempted in the 
little settlement that clustered around my factory, I respectfully 
requested that the accused might be locked up for safety in my 
barracoo7i, till the fatal liquid was prepared and the hour for its 
administration arrived. 

It will be readily understood that the saucy-wood beverage, 
like any other, may be prepared in various degrees of strength, so 
that the operator has entire control of its noxious qualities. If 
the accused has friends, either to pay or tamper with the medicator, 
the draft is commonly made weak enough to insure its harmless 
rejection from the culprit's stomach; but when the victim is 
friendless, time is allowed for the entire venom to exude, and the 
drinker dies ere he can drink the second bowl. 

Very soon after the offer of my harracoon as a prison for the 
accused, a Krooman was brought to it, accused of causing his 
nephew's death by fatal incantations. The ju-ju had been con- 
sulted and confirmed the suspicion ; whereupon the luckless negro 
was seized, ironed, and delivered to my custody. 

Next day early ihejuju-man ground his bark, mixed it with 
water, and simmered the potion over a slow fire to extract the 
poison's strength. As I had reason to believe that especial en 
mity was entertained against the imprisoned uncle, I called at the 
jtijuh hovel while the medication was proceeding, and, with the 
bribe of a bottle, requested him to impart triple power to the 
noxious draught. My own ju-jtt, I said, had nullified his by 
pronouncing the accused innocent, and I was exceedingly anxious 
to test the relative truth of our soothsayers. 

The rascal promised implicit compliance, and I hastened back 

* Sauci/-wood is tlie reddish bark of the gedu tree, wlucli ^vhen ground 
and mixed with water, makes a poisonous draught, believed to be infalli- 
ble in the detection of crime. It is, in fact, "a trial by ordeal;" if the 
drinker eurvivcshe is innocent, if ho perishe?, guilty. 



342 CAPTAIN CAXOT ; OR, 

to the barracoon to await the fatal hour. Up to the very mo- 
ment of the draught's administration, I remained alone with the 
culprit, and administering a double dose of tartar-emetic just 
before the gate was opened, I led him forth loaded with irons. 
The daring negro, strong in his truth, and confident of the white 
man's superior witchcraft, swallowed the draught without a wink, 
and in less than a minute, the rejected venom established his in- 
nocence, and covered the African wizard with confusion. 

This important trial and its results were of course noised 
abroad throughout so superstitious and credulous a community. 
The released Krooman told his companions of the " white-man- 
saucy wood," administered by me in the barracoon ; and, ever 
afterwards, the accused were brought to my sanctuary where the 
conflicting charm of my emetic soon conquered the native poison 
and saved many a useful life. In a short time the malicious 
practice was discontinued altogether 



During the favorable season, I had been deprived of three 
vessels by British cruisers, and, for as many months, had not 
shipped a single slave, — five hundred of whom were now crowded 
in my barracoons^ and demanded our utmost vigilance for safe 
keeping. In the gang, I found a family consisting of a man, his 
wife, three children and a sister, all sold under an express obli- 
gation of exile and slavery among Christians. The luckless 
father was captured by my blackguard friend Prince Freeman in 
person, and the family had been secured when the parents' vil- 
lage was subsequently stormed. Barrah was an outlaw and an 
especial offender in the eyes of an African, though his faults were 
hardly greater than the deeds that bestowed honor and knight- 
hood in the palmy days of our ancestral feudalism. Barrah was 
the discarded son of a chief in the interior, and had presumed to 
blockade the public path towards the beach, and collect duties 
from transient passengers or caravans. This interfered with 
Freeman and his revenues ; but, in addition to the pecuniary 
damage, the alleged robber ventured on several occasions to de- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 343 

feat and plunder the prince's vagabonds, so that, in time, he be- 
came rich and strong enough to build a town and fortify it with 
a regular stockade, directly on the highway ! All these offences 
were so heinous in the sight of my beach prince, that no foot was 
suffered to cool till Barrah was captured. Once within his 
power. Freeman would not have hesitated to kill his implacable 
enemy as soon as delivered at New Sestros; but the interference 
of friends, and, perhaps, the laudable conviction that a live negro 
was worth more than a dead one, induced his highness to sell 
him under pledge of Cuban banishment. 

Barrah made several ineffectual attempts to break my harra- 
conn and elude the watchfulness of my guards, so that they were 
frequently obliged to restrict his libert\', deprive him of com- 
forts, or add to his shackles. In fact, he was one of the most 
formidable savages I ever encountered, even among the thou- 
sands who passed in terrible procession before me in Africa. 
One day he set fire to the bamboo-matting with which a portion 
of the barracoon was sheltered from the sun, for which he was 
severely lashed ; but next day, when allowed, under pretence of 
ague, to crawl with his heavy irons to the kitchen fire, he sud- 
denly dashed a brand into the thatch, and, seizing another, sprang 
towards the powder-house, which his heavy shackles did not 
allow him to reach before he was felled to the earth. 

Freeman visited me soon afterwards, and, in spite of profit 
and liquor, insisted on taking the brutal savage back : but, in 
the mean time, the Bassa chief, to whom my prince was subordi- 
nate, heard of Barrah's attempt on my magazine, and demanded 
the felon to expiate his crime, according to the law of his coun- 
try, at the stake. No argument could appease the infuriate 
judges, who declared that a cruel death would alone satisfy the 
people whose lives had been endangered by the robber. Never- 
theless, I declined delivering the victim for such a fate, so that, 
in the end, we compromised the sentence by shooting Barrah in 
the presence of all the slaves and townsfolk, — the most uncon- 
cerned spectators among whom were his wife and sister ! 



344 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



CHAPTER LV. 

There is no riyer at the New Sestros settlement, though geog- 
raphers, with their usual accuracy in African outlines, have often 
projected one on charts and maps. Two miles from the short 
and perilous beach where I built my barracoons, there was a 
slender stream, which, in consequence of its shallow bed, and 
narrow, rock-bound entrance, the natives call " Poor River; " but 
mv factory was at New Sestros proper ; and there, as I have 
said, there was no water outlet from the interior; in fact, no- 
thing but an embayed strand of two hundred yards, flanked by 
dangerous cliffs. Such a beach, open to the broad ocean and for 
ever exposed to the full rage of its storms, is of course more or 
less dangerous at all times for landing ; and, even when the air 
is perfectly calm, the common surf of the sea pours inward with 
tremendous and combing waves, which threaten the boats of all 
who venture among them without experienced skill. Indeed, the 
landing at New Sestros would be impracticable were it not for 
the dexterous Kroomen, whose canoes sever and surmount the bil- 
lows in spite of their terrific power, 

Kroomen and Fishmen are different people from the Bush- 
men. The two former classes inhabit the seashore exclusively, 
and living apart from other African tribes, are governed by their 
elders under a somewhat democratic system. The Bushmen do 
not suffer the Kroos and Fishes to trade with the interior; but, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 345 

iu recompeuse for the monopoly of traffic with the strongholds of 
Africa's heart, these expert boatmen maintain despotic sway 
along the- beach in trade with the shipping. As European or 
Yankee boats cannot live in the surf I have described, the Kroo 
and Fishmen have an advantage over their brothers of the Bush, 
as well as over the whites, which they are not backward in using 
to their profit. In fact, the Bushmen fight, travel, steal and 
trade, while the Kroos and Fishes, who for ages have fringed at 
least seven hundred miles of African coast, constitute the mari- 
ners, without whose skill and boldness slaves would be drugs in 
caravans or barracoons. And this is especially the case since 
British, French, and American cruisers have driven the traffic 
from every nook and corner of the west coast that even resem- 
bled a harbor^ and forced the slavers to lay in wait iu open 
roadsteads for their prey. 

The Kroo canoe, wedge-like at both ends^ is hollowed from 
the solid trunk of a tree to the thickness of an inch. Of course 
they are so light and buoyant that they not only lie like a feather 
on the surface of the sea, so as to require nothing but freedom 
from water for their safety, but a canoe, capable of containing 
four people, may be borne on the shoulders of one or two to any 
reasonable distance. Accordingly, Kroomen and Fishmen are 
the prime pets of all slavers, traders, and men-of-war that fre- 
quent the west coast of Africa ; while no one dwelling on the 
shore, engaged in commerce, is particularly anxious to merit or 
receive their displeasure. 

When I landed at New Sestros, I promptly supplied myself 
with a little fleet of these amphibious natives ; and, as the news 
of ray liberality spread north and south along the shore, the 
number of my retainers increased with rapidity. Indeed, in six 
months a couple of rival towns, — one of Kroos and the other of 
Fishes, — hailed me severally as their " Commodore " and " Con- 
sul." "With such auxiliaries constantly at hand, I rarely feared 
the surf when the shipment of slaves was necessary. At Galli- 
nas, under the immediate eye of Don Pedro, the most elaborate 
care was taken to secure an ample supply of these people and 
their boats, and I doubt not that the multitude employed iu the 



346 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

establishment's prime, could, at a favorable moment, despatch 
at least a thousand slaves within the space of four hours. Yet 
I have heard from Kroomen at Gallinas the most harrowing tales 
of disaster connected with the shipment of negroes from that 
perilous bar. Even in the dry season, the mouth of this river is 
frequently dangerous, and, with all the adroitness they could 
display, the Kroos could not save boat load after boat load from 
becoming food for the ravenous sharks ! 

I was quite afloat at New Sestros on the tide of success, when 
the cruiser that for a while bad annoyed me with a blockade, be- 
came short of food, and was obliged to bear away for Sierra Leone. 
My well paid spy- — a Krooman who had been employed by the 
cruiser — soon apprised me of the brig's departure and its cause ; 
so that in an hour the beach was in a bustle, despatching a swift 
canoe to Gallinas with a message to Don Pedro : — " The coast is 
clear : — send me a vessel : — relieve my plethora ! " 

Forty-eight hours were hardly over when the twin masts of a 
clipper brig were seen scraping along the edge of the horizon, 
with the well-known sigTial for '* embarkation." I was undoubt- 
edly prepared to welcome my guest, for Kroos, Fishes, Bushmen, 
Bassas and all, had been alert since daybreak, ready to hail the 
craft and receive their fees. There had been a general embargo 
on all seagoing folks for a day before, so that there was not a 
fish to be had for love or money in the settlement. Minute pre- 
cautions like these are absolutely necessary for all prudent 
slavers, for it was likely that the cruiser kept a spy in her pay 
among my people, as well as I did among hers I 

All, therefore, was exceedingly comfortable, so far as ordinary 
judgment could foresee ; but alas ! the moon was full, and the 
African surf at such periods is fearfully terrific. As I listened 
from my piazza or gazed from my beHevue, it roared on the 
strand like the charge of interminable cavalry. My watchful 
enemy had been several days absent, and I expected her return 
from hour to hour. The shipment, though extremely perilous, was, 
therefore indispensable ; and four short hours of daylight alone 
remained to complete it. I saw the risk, yet, taking counsel with 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 347 

the head Kroo and Fishmen, I persuaded them, under the •provo- 
cation of triple reward, to attempt the enterprise with the smallest 
skiffs and stoutest rowers, while a band of lusty youths stood by 
to plunge in whenever the breakers capsized a canoe. 

We began with females, as the most difficult cargo for em- 
barkation, and seventy reached the brig safely. Then followed 
the stronger sex ; but by this time a sea breeze set in from the 
south-west like a young gale, and driving the rollers with greater 
rapidity, upset almost every alternate cockleshell set adrift with 
its living freight. It was fortunate that our sharks happened 
that evening to be on a frolic elsewhere, so that negro after negro 
was rescued from the brine, though the sun was rapidly sinking 
when but two thirds of my slaves were safely shipped. 

I ran up and down the beach, in a fever of anxiety, shout- 
ing, encouraging, coaxing, appealing, and refreshing the boatmen 
and swimmers; but as the gangs came ashore, they sank ex- 
hausted on the beach, refusing to stir. Rum, which hitherto 
roused them like electricity, was now powerless. Powder they 
did not want, nor muskets, nor ordinary trade stuff, for they 
never engaged in kidnapping or slave wars. 

As night approached the wind increased. There was the brig 
with topsails aback, signalling impatiently for despatch ; but never 
was luckless factor more at fault ! I was on the eve of giving 
up in despair, when a bright flash brought to recollection a 
quantity of Venetian beads of mock coral which I had stowed in 
my chest. They happened, at that moment, to be the rage among 
the girls of our beach, and were of course irresistible keys to the 
heart of every belle. Now the smile of a lip has the same magical 
power in Africa as elsewhere ; and the offer of a coral bunch for 
each, head embarked, brought all the dames and damsels of Sestros 
to my aid. Such a shower of chatter was never heard out of a 
canary cage. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, sweethearts, took 
charge of the embarkation by coaxing or commanding their re- 
spective gentlemen ; and, before the sun's rim dipped below the 
horizon, a few strands of false coral, or the kiss of a negro wench, 
sent one hundred more of the Africans into Spanish slavery. 

But this effort exhausted my people. The charm of beads 



348 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

and beauty was over : Three slaves found a tomb in the sharks, 
or a grave in the deep, while the brig took flight in the darkness 
without the remaining one hundred and twenty I had designed 
for her hold. 

Next morning the cruiser loomed once more in the offing, 
and, in a fit of impetuous benevolence, I hurried a Krooman 
aboard, with the offer of my compliments, and a sincere hope that 
I could render some service ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 349 



CHAPTER LVI. 

About this time, a Spanish vessel from the Canaries, laden with 
fruit, the greater part of which had been sold at Goree, Sierra 
Leone, Gallinas, and Cape Mesurado, dropped anchor opposite 
my little roadstead with a letter from Blanco, The Spaniard 
had been chartered by the Don to bring from the Grain Coast a 
cargo of rice, which he was to collect under my instructions. 

My barracoons happened to be just then pretty bare, and as 
the season did not require my presence in the factory for trade, 
it struck me that I could not pass a few weeks more agreeably, 
and ventilate my jaded faculties more satisfactorily, than by 
throwing my carpetbag on the Brilliant, and purchasing the 
cargo myself. 

In the prosecution of this little adventure, I called along the 
coast with cash at several English factories, where I obtained 
rice ; and on my return anchored oflF the river to purchase sea- 
stores. Here I found Governor Findley, chief of the colony, 
laboring under a protracted illness which refused yielding to 
medicine, but might, probably, be relieved by a voyage, even of 
a few days, in the pure air of old Neptune. Slaver as I was, I 
contrived never to omit a civility to gentlemen on the coast 
of Africa ; and I confess I was proud of the honorable service, 
when Governor Findley accepted the Brilliant for a trip along 
the coast. He proposed visiting Monrovia and Bassa ; and after 



350 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

landing at some port in that quarter to await the captain's return 
from windward. 

I fanned along the coast as slowly as I could, to give the 
Governor every possible chance to recruit his enervated frame 
by change of air ; but, as I looked in at New Sestros in passing, 
I found three trading vessels with cargoes of merchandise to my 
consignment, so that I was obliged to abandon my trip and return 
to business. I left the Governor, however, in excellent hands, 
and directed the captain to land him at Bassa, await his pleasure 
three days, and finally, to bear him to Monrovia, the last place 
he desired visiting. 

The Rio San Juan or Grand Bassa, is only fourteen miles 
north-west of New Sestros, yet it was near nightfall when the 
Brilliant approached the river landing. The Spaniard advised 
his guest not to disembark till next morning, but the Governor was 
so restless and anxious about delay, that he declined our captain's 
counsel, and went ashore at a native town, with the design of 
crossing on foot the two miles of beach to the American settle- 
ment. 

As Findley w^ent over the Brilliant's side into the Krooman's 
canoe, the jingle of silver was heard in his pocket; and warning 
was given him either to hide his money or leave it on board. 
But the Governor smiled at the caution, and disregarding it en- 
tirely, threw himself into the African skifiF. 

Night fell. The curtain of darkness dropped over the coast and 
sea. Twice the sun rose and sefwithout word from the Governor. 
At last, my delayed mariner became impatient if not anxious, 
and despatched one of my servants who spoke English, in search 
of Mr. Findley at the American Settlement. No one had seen 
or heard of him! But, hurrying homeward from his fruitless 
errand, my boy followed the winding beach, and half way to the 
vessel found a human body, its head gashed with a deep wound, 
floating and beating against the rocks. He could not recognize 
the features of the battered face ; but the well remembered 
garments left no doubt on the servant's mind that the corpse was 
Findley's. 

The frightful story was received with dismay on the Bril- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 351 

liant, whose captain, unfamiliar with the coast and its people, 
hesitated to land, with the risk of treachery or ambush, even to 
give a grave to the dust of his wretched passenger. In this 
dilemma he thought best to run the fourteen miles to New Ses- 
tros, where he might counsel with me before venturing ashore. 

"Whatever personal anxiety may have flashed athwart my mind 
when I heard of the death of a colonial governor while enjoying 
the hospitality of myself, — a slaver, — the thought vanished as 
quickly as it was conceived. In an instant I was busy with 
detection and revenge. 

It happened that the three captains had already landed the 
cargoes to my consignment, so that their empty vessels were lying 
at anchor in the roads, and the officers ready to aid me in any 
enterprise I deemed feasible. My colleagues were from three 
nations : — one was a Spaniard, another a Portuguese, and the last 
American. 

Next morning I was early aboard the Spaniard, and sending 
for the Portuguese skipper, we assembled the crew. I dwelt 
earnestly and heartily on the insult the Castilian flag had received 
by the murder of an important personage while protected by its 
folds. I demonstrated the necessity there was for prompt chas- 
tisement of the brutal crime, and concluded by informing the 
crowd, that their captains had resolved to aid me in vindicating 
our banner. When I ventured to hope that the men would not 
hesitate to back their ofiicers, a general shout went up that they 
were ready to land and punish the negroes. 

As soon as the enterprise was known on board the American, 
her captain insisted on volunteering in the expedition ; and by 
noon, our little squadron was under way, with fifty muskets in the 
cabins. 

The plan I roughly proposed, was, under the menacing ap- 
pearance of this force, to demand the murderer or murderers of 
Governor Findley, and to execute them, either on his grave, or the 
spot where his corpse was found. Failing in this, I intended to 
land portions of the crews, and destroy the towns nearest the 
theatre of the tragedy. 

The sun was still an hour or more high, when we sailed in 



352 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

line past the native towns along the fatal beach, and displayed our 
flags and pennants. Off the Rio San Juan, we tacked in man-of- 
war fashion, and returning southward, each vessel took post oppo- 
site a different town as if to command it. 

While I had been planning and executing these manoeuvres, 
the colonial settlers had heard of the catastrophe, and found poor 
Findley's mangled corpse. At the moment of our arrival off the 
river's mouth, an anxious council of resolute men was discussing 
the best means of chastising the savages. When my servant 
inquired for the governor he had spoken of him as a passenger in 
the Spanish craft, so that the parade of our vessels alongshore 
and in front of the native towns, betokened, they thought, co-op- 
eration on the part of the Mongo of New Sestros. 

Accordingly, we had not been long at anchor before Governor 
Johnson despatched a Krooman to know whether I was aboard a 
friendly squadron ; and, if so, he trusted I would land, at once, 
and unite with his forces in the intended punishment. 

In the interval, however, the cunning savages who soon found 
out that we had no cannons, flocked to the beach, and as they were 
beyond musket shot, insulted us by gestures, and defied a bat- 
tle. 

Of course no movement was made against the blacks that 
night, but it was agreed in council at the American settlement, 
that the expedition, supported by a field piece, should advance 
next day by the beach, where I could reinforce it with my seamen 
a short distance from the towns. 

Punctual to the moment, the colonial flag, with drum and fife, 
appeared on the sea-shore at nine in the morning, followed by some 
forty armed men, dragging their cannon. Five boats, filled with 
sailors instantly left our vessels to support the attack, and, by this 
time, the colonists had reached a massive rock which blocked the 
beach like a bulwark, and was already possessed by the natives. 
My position, in flank, made my force most valuable in dislodging 
the foe, and of course I hastened my oars to open the passage. As 
I was altogether ignorant of the numbers that might be hidden 
and lurking in the dense jungle that was not more than fifty feet 
from the water's edge, I kept my men afloat within musket shot. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 353 

and, with a few rounds of ball cartridge purged the rock of its 
defenders, though but a single savage was mortally wounded. 

Upon this, the colonists advanced to the vacant bulwark, and 
were joined by our reinforcement. Wheeler, who commanded 
the Americans, proposed that we should march in a compact body 
to the towns, and give battle to the blacks if they held out in their 
dwellings. But his plan was not executed, for, before we reached 
the negro huts, we were assailed from the bushes and jungle. 
Their object was to keep hidden within the dense underwood ; to 
shoot and run ; while we, entirely exposed on the open shore, were 
obliged to remain altogether on the defensive by dodging the balls, 
or to fire at the smoke of an unseen enemy. Occasionally, large 
numbers of the savages would appear at a distance beyond musket 
range, and tossing their guns and lances, or brandishing their 
cutlasses, would present their naked limbs to our gaze, slap their 
shining flanks, and disappear ! But this diverting exercise was 
not repeated very often. A sturdy colonist, named Bear, who 
carried a long and heavy old-fashioned rifle, took rest on my 
shoulder, and, when the next party of annoying jokers displayed 
their personal charms, laid its leader in the dust by a Yankee 
ball. Our cannon and blunderbusses were next brought into play 
to scour the jungle and expel the marksmen, who, confident in the 
security of their impervious screen, began to fire among us with 
more precision than was desirable, A Krooman of our party was 
killed, and a colonist severely wounded. Small sections of our 
two commands advanced at a run, and tired a volley into the bush- 
es, while the main body of the expedition hastened along the beach 
towards the towns. By repeating this process several times, we 
were enabled, without further loss, to reach the first settlement. 

Here, of course, we expected to find the savages arrayed in 
force to defend their roof- trees, but when we entered the place 
cautiously, and crept to the first dwelling in the outskirt, it was 
empty. So with the second, third, fourth, — until we overran 
the whole settlement and found it utterly deserted ; — its furni- 
ture, stock, implements, and even doors carried ofi" by the delib- 
erate fugitives. The guardian fetiche was alone left to protect 
their abandoned hovels. But the superstitious charm did not 



354 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

save them. The brand was liglited ; and, in an hour, five of 
these bauiboo confederacies were given to the flames. 

We discovered while approaching the towns, that our assault 
had made so serious an inroad on the slim supply of ammunition, 
that it was deemed advisable to send a messenger to the colony 
for a reinforcement. By neglect or mishap, the powder and ball 
never reached us ; so that when the towns were destroyed, no 
one dreamed of penetrating the forest to unearth its vermin with 
the remnant of cartridges in our chest and boxes. I never was 
able to discover the cause of this unpardonable neglect, or the 
officer who permitted it to occur in such an exigency; but it was 
forthwith deemed advisable to waste no time in retreating after 
our partial revenge. 

Till now, the Africans had kept strictly on the defensive, but 
when they saw our faces turned towards the beach, or colony, 
every bush and thicket became alive again with aggressive foes. 
For a while, the cannon kept them at bay, but its grape soon 
gave out ; and, while I was in the act of superintending a fair 
division of the remaining ball cartridges, I was shot in the right 
foot with an iron slug. At the moment of injury I scarcely 
felt the wound, and did not halt, but, as I trudged along in the 
sand and salt- water, my wound grew painful, and the loss of 
blood which tracked my steps, soon obliged me to seek refuge in 
the canoe of my Kroomen. 

The sight of my bleeding body borne to the skiff, was hailed 
with shouts and gestures of joy and contempt by the savages. As 
I crossed the last breaker and dropped into smooth water, my 
eyes reverted to the beach, where I heard the exultant war drum 
and war bells, while the colonists were beheld in full flight, 
leaving their artillery in the hands of our foe ! It was sub- 
sequently reported that the commander of the party had been 
panic struck by the perilous aspect of afi"airs, and ordered the 
precipitate and fatal retreat, which that very night emboldened 
the negroes to revenge the loss of their towns by the conflagration 
of Bassa Cove. 

Next day, my own men, and the volunteers from our Spanish, 
Portuguese and American vessels, were sent on board, eight of 



TWENTi' YEAllS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 855 

them bearing marks of the fray, which fortunately proved neither 
fatal nor dangerous. The shameful flight of my comrades not 
only gave heart to the blacks, but spread its cowardly panic 
among the resident colonists. The settlement, they told me, 
was in danger of attack, and although my wound and the disaster 
both contributed to excite me against the fugitives, I did not 
quit the San Juan without reinforcing Governor Johnson with 
twenty muskets and some kegs of powder. 

I have dwelt rather tediously perhaps on this sad occurrence 
— but I have a reason. Governor Findley's memory was, at this 
time, much vilified on the coast, because that functionary had ac- 
cepted the boon of a passage in the Brilliant, which was falsely de- 
clared to be " a Spanish slaver." There were some among the 
overrighteous who even went so far as to proclaim his death " a 
judgment for venturing on the deck of such a vessel !" 

As no one took the trouble to investigate the facts and con- 
tradict the malicious lie, I have thought it but justice to tell 
the entire story, and exculpate a gentleman who met a terrible 
death in the bold prosecution of his duty. 



356 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



CHAPTER LVII. 

I TOOK the earliest opportunity to apprise Don Pedro Blanco of 
the mishap that had befallen his factor's limb, so that I might 
receive the prompt aid of an additional clerk to attend the more 
active part of our business. Don Pedro's answer was extremely 
characteristic. The letter opened with a draft for five hundred 
dollars, which he authorized me to bestow on the widow and 
orphans of Governor Findley, if he left a family. The slaver of 
Gallinas then proceeded to comment upon my Quixotic expedi- 
tion ; and, in gentle terms, intimated a decided censure for my 
immature attempt to chastise the negroes. He did not disap- 
prove my motives ; but considered any revengeful assault on the 
natives unwise, unless every precaution had previously been 
taken to insure complete success. Don Pedro hoped that, hence- 
forth, I would take things more coolly, so as not to hazard either 
my life or his property ; and concluded the epistle by super- 



scribing it : 



To 

"' IScnor Powder, 

" at his Magazi?ie, 

" New Sestros." 



The slug that struck the upper part of my foot, near the 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 357 

ankle joint, tore ray flesh and tendons with a painfully danger- 
gerous wound, which, for nine months, kept me a prisoner on 
crutches. During the long and wearying confinement which al- 
most broke my restless heart, I had little to do save to superintend 
the general fortunes of our factory. Now and then, an incident 
occurred to relieve the monotony of my sick chair, and make me 
forget, for a moment, the pangs of my crippled limb. One of 
these events flashes across my memory as I write, in the shape 
of a letter which was mysteriously delivered at my landing by a 
coaster, and came from poor Joseph, my ancient partner on the 
Rio Pongo. Coomba's spouse was in trouble I and the ungrate- 
ful scamp, though forgetful of my own appeals from the Chateau 
of Brest^ did not hesitate to claim my brotherly aid. Captured 
in a Spanish slaver, and compromised beyond salvation, Joseph 
had been taken into Sierra Leone, where he was now under sen- 
tence of transportation. The letter hinted that a liberal sum 
might purchase his escape, even from the tenacious jaws of the 
British lion ; and when I thought of old times, the laughable 
marriage ceremony, and the merry hours we enjoyed at Kambia, 
I forgave his neglect. A draft on Don Pedro was readily cashed 
at Sierra Leone, notwithstanding the paymaster was a slaver and 
the jurisdiction that of St. George and his Cross. The trans- 
action, of course, was " purely commercial,"' and, therefore, sin- 
less ; so that, in less than a month, Joseph and the bribed 
turnkey were on their way to the Kio Pongo, 

By this time the sub-factory of New Sestros was somewhat 
renowned in Cuba and Porto Kico. Our dealings with comman- 
ders, the character of my cargoes, and the rapidity with which I 
despatched a customer and his craft were proverbial in the islands. 
Indeed, the third year of my lodgment had not rolled over, be- 
fore the slave-demand was so great, that in spite of rum, cottons, 
muskets, powder, kidnapping and Prince Freeman's wars, the 
country could not supply our demand. 

To aid New Sestros, I had established several nurseries, or 
junior factories, at Little Ba.ssa and Digby ; points a few miles 
from the limits of Liberia. These " chapels of ease " furnished 
my parent barracoo)is with young and small negroes, mostly 
kidnapped. I suppose, in the neighborhood of the beaeh. 



358 

When I was perfectly cured of the injury I sustained in my 
first philanthropic fight, I loaded my spacious cutter with a 
choice collection of trade-goods, and set sail one fine morning 
for this outpost at Digby. I designed, also, if advisable, to 
erect another receiving barracoon under the lee of Cape 
Mount. 

But my call at Digby was unsatisfactory. The pens were 
vacant, and our merchandise squandered on credit. This put 
me in a very uncomfortable passion, which would have rendered 
an interview between ^' Mr. Powder " and his agent any thing 
but pleasant or profitable, had that personage been at his post. 
Fortunately, however, for both of us, he was abroad carousing 
with " a king ; " so that I refused landing a single yard of mer- 
chandise, and hoisted sail for the next village. 

There I transacted business in regular " ship shape." Our 
rum was plenteously distributed and established an entente cordiale 
which would have charmed a diplomatist at his first dinner in a 
new capital. The naked blackguards flocked round me like 
crows, and I clothed their loins in parti-colored calicoes that 
enriched them with a plumage worthy of parrots. I was the 
prince of gooiji fellows in " every body's" opinion; and, in five 
days, nineteen newly-" conveTjed " darkies were exchanged for 
London muskets, Yankee grog, and Manchester cottons ! " 

My cutter, though but twenty-seven feet long, was large 
enough to stow my gang, considering that the voyage was short, 
and the slaves but boys and girls ; so I turned my prow home- 
ward with contented spirit and promising skies. Yet, before 
night, all was changed. Wind and sea rose together. The sun 
sank in a long streak of blood. After a while, it rained in ter- 
rible squalls; till, finally, darkness caught me in a perfect gale. So 
high was the surf and so shelterless the coast, that it became 
utterly impossible to make a lee of any headland where we might 
ride out the storm in safety. Our best hope was in the cutter's 
ability to keep the open sea without swamping ; and, accordingly, 
under the merest patch of sail, I coasted the perilous breakers, 
guided by their roar, till day dawn. But, when the sun lifted 
over the horizon, — peering for an instant through a rent in the 



I 



IWE-KTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 359 

storm-cloud, and then disappearing behind the gray vapor, — I 
saw at once that the coast offered no chance of landing our 
blacks at some friendly town. Every where the bellowing shore 
was lashed by surf, impracticable even for the boats and skill of 
Kroomen. On I dashed, therefore, driving and almost burying 
the cutter, with loosened reef, till we came opposite Monrovia; 
where, safe in the absence of cruisers, I crept at dark under the 
lee of the cape, veiling my cargo with our useless sails. 

Sunset " killed the wind," enabling us to be off again at 
dawn ; yet hardly were we clear of the cape, when both gale and 
current freshened from the old quarter, holding us completely 
in check. Nevertheless, I kept at sea till evening, and then 
sneaked back to my protecting anchorage. 

By this time, my people and slaves were wellnigh famished, 
for their sole food had been a scant allowance of raw cassava. 
Anxiety, toil, rain, and drenching spray, broke their spirits. 
The blacks, from the hot interior, and now for the first time off 
their mother earth, suffered not only from the inclement weather, 
but groaned with the terrible pangs of sea-sickness. I resolved, 
therefore, if possible, to refresh the drooping gang by a hot meal; 
and, beneath the shelter of a tarpaulin, contrived to cook a mess 
of rice. Warm food comforted us astonishingly ; but, alas ! the 
next day was a picture of the past ! A slave — cramped and 
smothered amid the crowd that soaked so long in the salt water 
at our boat's bottom — died during the darkness. Next morning, 
the same low, leaden, coffin-lid sky, hung like a pall over sea and 
shore. Wind in terriffic blasts, and rain in deluging squalls, 
howled and beat on us. Come what might, I resolved not to 
stir ! All day I kept my people beneath the sails, with orders 
to move their limbs as much as possible, in order to overcome the 
benumbing effect of moisture and packed confinement. The in- 
cessant drenching from sea and sky to which they had been so 
long subjected, chilled their slackened circulation to such a de- 
gree, that death from torpor seemed rapidly supervening. Mo- 
tion, motion, motion, was my constant command ; but I hoarded 
my alcohol for the last resource. 

I saw that no time was to be lost, and that nothing but a 



360 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

bold encounter of hazard would save either lives or property. 
Before dark my mind was made up as to the enterprise. I would 
land in the neighborhood of the colony, and cross its territory 
during the shadow of night ! 

I do not suppose that the process by which I threw my stiff- 
ened crew on the beach, and revived them with copious draughts 
of brandy, would interest the reader; hut midnight did not 
strike before my cargo, under the escort of Kroo guides, was 
boldly marched through the colonial tow7i, and safe on its way 
to New Sestros ! Fortunately for my dare-devil adventure, the 
tropical rain poured down in ceaseless torrents, compelling the 
unsuspicious colonists to keep beneath their roofs. Indeed, no 
one dreamed of a forced march by human beings on that dreadful 
night of tempest, else it might have gone hard had I been detect- 
ed in the desecration of colonial soil. Still I was prepared for 
all emergencies. I never went abroad without the two great 
keys of Africa — gold and firearms ; and had it been my lot to 
encounter a colonist, he would either have learned the value of 
silence, or have been carried along, under the muzzle of a pistol, 
till the gang was in safety. 

While it was still dark, I left the caravan advancing by an 
interior path to Little Bassa, where one of my branches could 
furnish it with necessaries to cross the other colony of Bassa San 
Juan, so as to reach my homestead in the course of three days. 
Meanwhile I retraced my way to Monrovia, and, reaching it by 
sunrise, satisfied the amiable colonists that I had just taken shel- 
ter in their harbor, and was fresh from my dripping cutter. It 
is very likely that no one in the colony to the present day knows 
the true story of this adventure, or would believe it unless con- 
fessed by me. 

It was often my fate in Africa, and elsewhere, to hear gossips 
declare that colonists were no better than others who dwelt amid 
coast temptations, and that they were sometimes even willing to 
back a certain Don Theodore Canot, if not absolutely to share 
bis slave trade ! I never thought it prudent to exculpate those 
honorable emigrants who were consolidating the first colonial 
lodgments from the United States ; for I believed that 77iy denial 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 361 

would only add sarcastic venom to the scandal of vilifiers. 
But now that my African career is over, and the slave trade a 
mere tradition in the neighborhood of Liberia, I may assure the 
friends of colonization, that, in all my negro traffic, no American 
settler gave assistance or furnished merchandise which I could not 
have obtained at the most loyal establishments of Britain or 
France. I think it will be granted by unprejudiced people, that 
the colonist who sold me a few pieces of cloth, lodged me in tra- 
velling, or gave me his labor for my flesh-colored gold, partici- 
pated no more in the African slave trade than the European or 
American supercargo who sold assorted cargoes, selected with 
the most deliberate judgment in London, Paris, Boston, New- 
York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore, expressly to suit the well- 
known cupidity of my warriors, kidnappers, and slave merchants. 
Commerce is sometimes an adroit metaphysican — but a bad 
moralist 1 

16 



862 



CHAPTER LVIII. 

It was my invariable custom whenever a vessel made her ap- 
pearance in the roadstead of New Sestros, to despatch my canoe 
with " Captain Canot's compliments ; " nor did I omit this grace- 
ful courtesy when his Britannic Majesty's cruisers did me the 
honor of halting in my neighborhood to watch or destroy my ope- 
rations. At such times I commonly increased the politeness by 
an offer of my services, and a tender of provisions, or of any com- 
modity the country could supply ! 

I remember an interesting rencounter of this sort with the 
officers of the brig of war Bonito. My note was forwarded by a 
trusty Krooman, even before her sails were furled, but the cour- 
teous offer was respectfully declined "/w the 'presentP The cap- 
tain availed himself, however, of my messenger's return, to an- 
nounce that the " commodore in command of the African squad- 
ron had specially deputed the Bonito to blockade New Sestros, 
for which purpose she was provisioned for six months^ and or- 
dered not to budge from her anchorage till relieved by a 
cruiser ! " 

This formidable announcement was, of course, intended to 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 363 

strike me with awe. The captain hoped in conclusion, that I 
would see the folly of prosecuting my abominable traffic in the 
face of such a disastrous vis a vis ; nor could he refrain from in- 
timating his surprise that a man of my reputed character and 
ability, would consent to manacle and starve the unfortunate ne- 
groes who were now sufferiDg in my barracoons. 

I saw at once from this combined attack of fear and flattery, 
backed by blockade, that his majesty's officer had either been 
grossly misinformed, or believed that a scarcity of rice prevailed 
in my establishment as well as elsewhere along the coast. 

The suspicion of starving blacks in chains, was not only pa- 
thetic but mortifying ! It was part of the sentimental drapery of 
British reports and despatches, to which I became accustomed 
in Africa. I did not retort upon my dashing captain with a 
sneer at his ancestors who had taught the traffic to Spaniards, 
yet I resolved not to let his official communications reach the 
British admiralty with a fanciful tale about my barracoons and 
starvation. Accordingly, without more ado, I sent a second bil- 
let to the Bonito, desiring her captain or any of her officers to 
visit New Sestros, and ascertain personally the condition of my 
establishment. 

Strange to tell, my invitation was accepted ; and at noon a 
boat with a white flag, appeared on the edge of the surf, convey- 
ing two officers to my beach. The surgeon and first lieutenant 
were my visitors. I welcomed them most cordially to my cot- 
tage, and as soon as the customary refreshments were despatch- 
ed, proposed a glance at the dreadful barracoons. 

As well as I now remember, there must have been at least 
five hundred slaves in my two pens, sleek in flesh, happy in 
looks, and ready for the first customer who could outwit the 
cruiser. I quietly despatched a notice of our advent to the bar- 
racooniers^ with directions as to their conduct, so that the mo 
ment ray naval friends entered the stanch inclosures, full two 
hundred and fifty human beings, in each, rose to their feet and 
saluted the strangers with long and reiterated clapping. This 
sudden and surprising demonstration somewhat alarmed my 
guests at its outburst, and made them retreat a pace towards the 



364 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

door, — perhaps in fear of treachery; — hut when they saw the 
smiling faces and heard the pleased chatter of iny people, they 
soon came forward to learn that the compliment was worth a cus- 
tomary demijohn of rum. 

The adventure was a fortunate one for the reputation of New 
Sestros, Don Pedro my employer, and Don Teodor, his clerk. 
Our establishment happened just then to be at a summit of ma- 
terial comfort rarely exceeded or even reached by others. My 
pens were full of slaves ; my granary, of rice ; my stores, of 
merchandise. 

From house to house, — from hut to hut, — the sailor and saw- 
bones wandered with expressions of perfect admiration, till the 
hour for dinner approached. I ordered the meal to be adminis- 
tered with minute attention to all our usual ceremonies. The 
washing, singing, distribution of food, beating time, and all the 
prandial etceteras of comfort, were performed with the utmost 
precision and cleanliness. They could not believe that such was 
the ordinary routine of slave life in barracoons^ but ventured to 
hint that I must have got up the drama for their special diver- 
sion, and that it was impossible for such to be the ordinary drill 
and demeanor of Africans. Our dapper little surgeon, with al- 
most dissective inquisitiveness, pried into every nook and corner; 
and at length reached the slave kitchen, where a caldron was 
full and bubbling with the most delicious rice. Hard by stood 
a pot, simmering with meat and soup, and in an instant the doc- 
tor had a morsel between his fingers and brought his companion 
to follow his example. 

Now, in sober truth, this was no casual display got up for 
effect, but the common routine of an establishment conducted 
with prudent foresight, for the profit of its owners as well as 
the comfort of our people. And yet, such was the fanatical pre- 
possession of these Englishmen, whose idea of Spanish factories 
and ^arrat'oows was formed exclusively from exaggerated reports, 
that I could not satisfy them of my truth till I produced our 
journal, in which I noted minutely every item of daily expendi- 
ture. It must be understood, however, that it was not my habit 
to give the slaves meat every day of the week. Such a diet would 



TWENTY YtAllS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 365 

not be prudent, because it is not habitual with the majority of 
negroes. Two bullocks were slaughtered each week for the use 
of my factorij, while the hide, head, blood, feet, neck, tail, and 
entrails, v>^ere appropriated for broth in the barracoons. It hap- 
pended that my visitors arrived on the customary day of our 
butchering. 

A stinging appetite was the natural result of our review, and 
while the naval guests were whetting it still more, I took the op- 
portunity to slip out of my verandah with orders for our harbor 
pilot to report the beach " impracticable for boats," — a report 
which no prudent sailor on the coast ever disregards. Meanwhile, 
I despatched a Krooman with a note to the Bonito's captain, no- 
tifying that personage of the marine hazard that prevented his 
ofl&cers' immediate return, and fearing they might even find it 
necessary to tarry over night. This little ruse was an im- 
promptu device to detain my inspectors, and make us better ac- 
quainted over the African cuisine^ which, by this time was smok- 
ing in tureens and dishes flanked by spirited sentinels, in black 
uniform, of claret and eau de vie. 

Our dinner-chat was African all over : slavery, cruisers, prize- 
money, captures, war, negro-trade, and philanthropy ! The sur- 
geon melted enough under the blaze of the bottle to admit, as a 
2JhiIosoi?her, that Cuffee was happier in the hands of white men 
than of black, and that he would even support the institution if 
it could be carried on v>4th a little more humanity and less blood- 
shed. The lieutenant saw nothing, even through the " Spiritual 
Medium " of our flagons, save prize-money and obedience to the 
Admiral ; while Don Teodor became rather tart on the ser- 
vice, and confessed that his incredulity of British philanthropy 
would never cease till England abandoned her Indian wars, her 
opium smuggling, and her persecution of the Irish ! 

In truth, these loyal subjects of the King, and the Spanish sla- 
ver became most excellent friends before bed-time, and ended the 
evening by a visit to Prince Freeman, who forthwith got up a 
negro dance and jollification for our special entertainment. 

I have not much recollection after the end of this savage frolic, 



366 CArxAiN canot; or. 

till my " look-out " knocked at the door with the news that our 
brig was firing for her officers, while a suspicious sail flitted along 
the horizon. 

All good sailors sleep with one eye and ear open, so that in a 
twinkling the lieutenant was afoot making for the beach, and call- 
ing for the surgeon to follow. " A canoe ! a canoe ! a canoe ! " 
shouted the gallant blade, while he ran to and fro on the edge of 
the surf, beholding signal after signal from his vessel. But alas ! 
for the British navy, — out of all the Kroo spectators not one 
stirred hand or foot for the royal officer. Next came the jingle of 
dollars, and the offer of twenty to the boatmen who would launch 
their skiff and put them on board. "No savez ! No savez! ax 
Commodore ! ax Consul ! " 

" Curse your Commodore and Consul ! " yelled the lieutenant, 
as the surgeon came up with the vociferous group : " put us aboard 
and be paid, or I'll " 

" Stop, stop ! " interposed my pacific saw-bones, " no swearing 
and no threats, lieutenant. One's just as useless as the other. 
First of all, the Bonito's off about her business; — and next, my 
dear fellow, the chase she's after is one of Canot's squadron, and, 
of course, there's an embargo on every canoe along this beach ! 
The Commodore's altogether too cute, as the Yankees say, to 
reinforce his enemy with officers ! " 

During this charming little episode of my hJocJcade, I was 
aloft in my bellevieu, watching the progress of the chase ; and as 
both vessels kept steadily northward they soon disappeared behind 
the land. 

By this time it was near breakfast, and, with a good appetite, 
I descended to the verandah, with as unconcerned an air as if 
nothing had occurred beyond the ordinary routine of factory life. 
But, not so, alas ! my knight of the single epaulette. 

" This is a pretty business, sir ; " said the lieutenant, fixing a 
look on me which was designed to annihilate ; striding up and 
down the piazza, " a very pretty business, I repeat ! " Pray, Com- 
modore, Consul, Don, Senor, Mister, Monsieur, Theodore Canot, 
or whatever the devil else you please to call yourself, how long 
do you intend to keep British officers prisoners in your infernal 
slave den ? " 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 367 

Now it is very likely that some years before, or if I had not 
contrived the plot of this little naval cojitre tcmps^ I might have 
burst forth in a beautiful rage, and given my petulant and foiled 
visitor a specimen of my Spanish vocabulary, which would not 
have rested pleasantly in the memory of either party. But as he 
warmed / cooled. His rage, in fact, was a fragment of my prac- 
tical satire, and I to*ok special delight in beholding the contor- 
tions caused by my physic. 

" Sit down, sit down, lieutenant! " returned I very composedly, 
'•we're about to have coffee, and you are my guest. Nothing, 
lieutenant, ever permits me to neglect the duties of hospitality in 
such an out-of-the-way and solitary place as Africa. Sit down, 
doctor ! Calm yourselves, gentlemen. Take example by me ! 
Your Bonito is probably playing the devil with one of Don Pedro's 
craft by this time ; but that don't put me out of temper, or make 
me unmannerly to gentlemen who honor my bamboo hut with their 
presence ! " I laid peculiar stress, by way of accent, on the word 
" unmannerly," and in a moment I saw the field was in my hands. 

" Yes, gentlemen," continued I, " I comprehend very well both 
your duty and responsibility ; but, now that I see you are calmer, 
have the kindness to say in what I am to blame? Did you not 
come here to " blockade " New Sestros, with a brig and provisions 
for half a year ? And do I prevent your embarkatioD, if you can 
find any Krooman willing to take you on board ? Nay, did either 
of you apprise me, as is customary when folks go visiting, that 
you designed leaving my quarters at so early an hour as to afford 
me the pleasure of seeing every thing in order for your accommo- 
dation ? Come now, my good fellows. New Sestros is mi/ flagship, 
as the Bonito is yours ! No body stirs from this beach without 
the wink from its Commodore ; and I shall be much surprised to 
hear such excellent disciplinarians dispute the propriety of my rule. 
Nevertheless, as you feel anxious to be gone on an independent 
cruise, you shall be furnished with a canoe instanter ! " 

" An offer," interjected the surgeon, " which it would be d — d 
nonsense to accept ! Have done with your infernal sneering, Don 
Teodor; strike your flag, Mr. Lieutenant; and let the darkies 
bring in the breakfast ! " 



368 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

I have narrated this little anecdote to show that Spanish sla- 
vers sometimes ventured to have a little fun with the British lion, 
and that when we got him on his haunches, his mouth full of beef 
and his fore paws in air, he was by no means the unamiable beast 
he is described to be, when, in company with the unicorn, he 
goes 

" a-figliting for the crown I " 



TWENTY YZARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 369 



CHAPTER LIX. 

The balance of life vibrated considerably on the African 
coast. Sometimes 31r. Bull's scale ascended and sometimes the 
Slaver's. Tt was now the turn of the former to be exalted for a 
while by way of revenge for my forced hospitality. 

Our friends of the Bonito held on with provoking pertinacity 
in front of my factory, so that I was troubled but little with com- 
pany from Cuba for several months. At last, however, it became 
necessary that I should visit a neighboring colony for supplies, 
and I took advantage of a Russian trader a^ong the coast to efl'ect 
my purpose. But when we were within sight of our destination, 
a British cruiser brought us to and visited the '• Galopsik." As 
her papers were in order, and the vessel altogether untainted, I 
took it for granted that Lieutenant Hill would make a short stay 
and be off to his "Saracen." Yet, a certain "slave dock," and 
an unusual quantity of water-casks, aroused the officer's suspicions, 
so that instead of heading for our port, we were unceremoniously 
favored with a prize crew, and ordered to Sierra Leone ! 

I did not venture to protest against these movements, inas- 
much as I had no interest whatever in the craft, but I ventured 
to suggest that " as I was only a passenger, there could be no ob- 
jection to my landing before the new voyage was commenced." 

" By no means, sir," was the prompt leTplj, ^^ your presence 
is a material fact for the condemnation of the vessel/''' lu- 
16* 



370 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

deed, I soon found out that I was recognized by some of the Kroo- 
men on the cruiser, and my unlucky reputation was a hole in the 
bottom of our Russian craft ! 

At Sierra Leone matters became worse. The Court did not 
venture to condemn the Russian, but resolved on ordering her to 
England ; and when I re-stated my reasonable appeal for release, 
I was told that I must accompany the vessel on her visit to Great 
Britain. 

This arbitrary decision of our captors sadly disconcerted my 
plans. A voyage to England would ruin New Sestros. My bar- 
racoons were alive with blacks, but I had not a month's pro visions 
in my stores. The clerk, temporarily in charge, was altogether 
unfit to conduct a factory during a prolonged absence, — and all 
my personal property, as well as Don Pedro's, was at the hazard 
of his judgment during a period of considerable difficulty. 

I resolved to take '• French leave." 

Three men of war were anchored astern and on our bows. No 
boats were allowed to approach us from shore ; at night two ma- 
rines and four sailors paraded the deck, so that it was a thing of 
some peril to dream of escape in the face of such Arguses. Yet 
there was no help for it. I could not afiFord an Admiralty or 
Chancery suit in England, while my harracoons were foodless in 
Africa. 

No one had been removed from the Russian since her seizure, 
nor were we denied liberty of motion and intercourse so long as 
suspicion had not ripened into legal condemnation. The captain, 
by birth a Spaniard, was an old acquaintance, while the steward 
and boatswain were good fellows who professed willingness to aid 
me in any exploit I might devise for my liberty. 

I hit upon the plan of a regular carouse ; and at once decided 
that my Spanish skipper was bound to keep his birth-day with 
commendable merriment and abundant grog. There was to be 
no delay ; one day was as good as another for his festival, while 
all that we needed, was time enough to obtain the requisite sup- 
plies of food and fluid. 

This was soon accomplished, and the " fatted pig " slaugh- 
tered for the feast. As I never left home unprovided with gold, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AX AFRICAN SLAVER. 371 

means were not A^anting to stock our pantry with champagne as 
well as brandy. 

Every thing went off to a charm. We fed like gluttons and 
drank like old-fashioned squires. Bumper after bumper was 
quaffed to the captain. Little by little, the infection spread, as it 
always does, from the ward-room to the cabin, and " goodfellow- 
ship " was the watchword of the night. Invitations were given 
and accepted by our prize crew. Bull and the Lion again relaxed 
under the spell of beef and brandy, so that by sundown every lip 
had tasted our eau de iz>, and watered for more. The " first 
watch " found every soul on board, with the exception of our cor- 
poral of marines, as happy as lords. 

This corporal was a regular " character; " and, from the first, 
had been feared as our stumbling-block. He was a perfect mar- 
tinet ; a prim, precise, black-stock'd, military. Miss Nancy. He 
neither ate nor drank, neither talked nor smiled, but paraded the 
deck with a grim air of iron severity, as if resolved to preserve 
his own " discipline " if he could not control that of any one else. 
I doubt very much whether her Majesty has in her service a more 
dutiful loyalist than Corporal Blunt, if that excellent functionary 
has not succumbed to African malaria. 

I hoped that something would occur to melt the corporal's 
heart during the evening, and had prepared a little vial in my 
pocket, which, at least, would have given him a stirless nap of 
twenty-four hours. But nothing broke the charm of his spell- 
bound sobriety. There he marched, to and fro, regular as a drum 
tap, hour after hour, stiff and inexorable as a ramrod ! 

But who, after the fall of Corporal Blunt, shall declare that 
there is a living man free from the lures of betrayal ? And 
yet, he only surrendered to an enemy in disguise ! 

" God bless me, ct)rporal," said our prize lieutenant, " in the 
name of all that's damnable, why don't you let out a reef or 
two from those solemn cheeks of yours, and drink a bumper to 
Captain Gaspard and Don Teodor ? You ain't afraid of cider^ 
are you ? " 

" Cider ^ captain? " said the corporal, advancing to the front 
and throwing up his hand with a military salute. 



372 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



1 



"Cider and be d — d to you!" returned the lieutenant. 
" Cider — of course, corporal; what other sort of pop can starving 
wretches like us drink in Sary-loney? " 

" Well, lieutenant," said the corporal, " if so be as how them 
fizzing bottles which yonder Spanish gentleman is a pourin down 
is only cider ; and if cider ain't agin rules after * eight bells ; ' 
and if you, lieutenant, orders me to handle my glass, — I don't 
see what right I have to disobey the orders of my superior ! " 

" Oh ! blast your sermon and provisos," interjected the 
lieutenant, filling a tumbler and handing it to the corporal, who 
drained it at a draught. In a moment the empty glass was re- 
turned to the lieutenant, who, instead of receiving it from the 
subaltern, refilled the tumbler. 

" Oh, I'm sure I'm a thousand times obliged, lieutenant," 
said Blunt, with his left hand to his cap, " a thousand, thousand 
times, lieutenant, — but I'd rather take no more, if it's all the 
same to your honor." 

" But it ain't, Blunt, by any means ; the rule is universal 
among gentlemen on ship and ashore, that whenever a fellow's 
glass is filled, he must drink it to the dregs, though he may leave 
a drop in the bottom to pour out on the table in honor of his 
sweetheart ;- — so, down with the cider ! And now Blunt, my boy, 
that you've calked your first nail head, I insist upon a bumper 
all round to that sweetheart you were just talking of! " 

" Me, lieutenant ? " 

" You, corporal ! " 

" I wasn't talking about any sweetheart, as I remembers, 
lieutenant ; — 'pon the honor of a soldier, I haven't had no such a 
thing this twenty years, since one warm summer's afternoon, 
when Jane " 

" Now, corporal, you don't pretend to contradict your superior 
officer, I hope. You don't intend to be the first man on this ship 
to show a mutinous example ! " 

" Oh ! God bless me, lieutenant, the thought never entered 
my brain ! " 

But the third tumbler of champaigne did, in the apple-blos- 
som disguise of " cider ; " and, in half an hour, there wasn't an 



TWENTY YEARS OF AX AFRICAN SLAVER. 373 

odder fifjure on deck than the poor corporal, whose vice-like stock 
steadied his neck, though there was nothing that could make him 
toe the plank which he pertinaciously insisted on promenading. 
Blunt the immaculate, was undeniably drunk ! 

In fact, — though I say it with all possible respect for her 
Majesty's naval officers, ivJiile on duty, — there was, by this time, 
hardly a sober man on deck or in the cabin except myself and 
the Spanish captain, who left me to engage the prize-officer in a 
game of backgammon or dominoes. The crew was dozing about 
the decks, or nodding over the taffrail, while my colleague, the 
boatswain, prepared an oar on the forecastle to assist me in reach- 
ing the beach. 

It was near midnight when I stripped in my state room, 
leaving my garments in the berth, and hanging my watch over 
its pillow. In a small bundle I tied a flannel shirt and a pair 
of duck pantaloons, which I fastened behind my neck as I stood 
on the forecastle ; and then, placing the oar beneath my arm, I 
glided from the bows into the quiet water. 

The night was not only very dark, but a heavy squall of wind 
and rain, accompanied by thunder, helped to conceal my escape 
and free the stream from sharks. I was not long in reaching a 
native town, where a Krooman from below, who had known me 
at Gallinas, was prepared for my reception and concealment. 

Next morning, the cabin-boy, who did not find me as usual 
on deck, took my coffee to the state-room, where, it was supposed, 
I still rested in comfortable oblivion of last night's carouse. 
But the bird had flown ! There were my trunk, my garments, 
my watch, — undisturbed as I left them when preparing for bed. 
There was the linen of my couch turned down and tumbled dur- 
ing repose. The inquest had no doubt of my fate : — I had fallen 
overboard duiing the nighty and was doubtless, by this time, 
well digested in the bowels of African sharks ! Folks shook 
their heads with surprise when it was reported that the notorious 
slaver, Cauot, had fallen a victim to mania dpotu! 

The report of my death soon reached shore ; the British 
townsfolk believed it, but I never imagined for a moment that 
the warm-hearted tar who commanded the prize had been de- 
ceived by such false signals. 



374 CAPTAIN CANOT j OR, 

During eight days I remained hidden among the friendly ne- 
groes, and from my loop-hole, saw the Russian vessel sail under 
the Saracen's escort. I was not, however, neglected in my con- 
cealment by the worthy tradesmen of the British colony, who 
knew I possessed money as well as credit. This permitted me 
to receive visits and make purchases for the factor}', so that I 
was enabled, on the eighth day, with a full equipment of all I 
desired, to quit the British jurisdiction in a Portuguese vessel. 

On our way to New Sestros, I made the skipper heave his 
main-yard aback at Digby, while I embarked thirty-one " dar- 
kies," and a couple of stanch canoes with their Kroomen, to 
land my human freight in case of encountering a cruiser. 

And well was it for me that I took this precaution. Night 
fell around us, dark and rainy, — the wind blowing in squalls, and 
sometimes dying away altogether. It was near one o'clock when 
the watch announced two vessels on our weather bow ; and, of 
course, the canoes were launched, manned, filled with twenty of 
the gang, and set adrift for the coast, ere our new acquaintances 
could honor us with their personal attention. Ten of the slaves 
still remained on board, and as it was perilous to risk them in 
our own launch, we capsized it over the squad, burying the fel- 
lows in its bowels under the lee of a sailor's pistol to keep them 
quiet if we were searched. 

Our lights had hardly been extinguished in cabin and binna- 
cle, when we heard the measured stroke of a man-of-war oar. 
In a few moments more the boat was alongside, the officer on 
deck, and a fruitless examination concluded. The blacks be- 
neath the launch were as silent as death ; nothing was found to 
render the " Maria " suspicious ; and we were dismissed with a 
left-handed blessing for rousing gentlemen from their bunks on 
so comfortless a night. Next morning at dawn we reached New 
Sestros, where my ten lubbers were landed without delay. 

But our little comedy was not yet over. Noon had not 
struck before the '' Dolphin " cast anchor within hail of the 
" Maria," and made so free as to claim her for a prize ! In the 
darkness and confusion of shipping the twenty slaves who were 
first of all despatched in canoes, one of them slipped overboard 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 375 

with a paddle, and sustained himself till daylight, when he was 
picked up by the cruiser whose jaws we had escaped during the 
night ! The negro's story of our trick aroused the ire of her 
commander, and the poor " Maria " was obliged to pay the for- 
feit by revisiting Sierra Leone in custody of an officer. 

There were great rejoicings on my return to New Sestros. 
The coast was full of odd and contradictory stories about our 
capture. When the tale of my death at Sierra Leone by drown- 
ing, in a fit of drunkenness, was told to my patron Don Pedro, 
that intelligent gentleman denied it without hesitation, because, 
in the language of the law, " it proved too much?'' It was possible^ 
he said, that I might have been drowned ; but when they told 
him I had come to my death by strong drink, they declared what 
was not only improbable, but altogether out of the question. 
Accordingly, he would take the liberty to discredit the entire 
story, being sure that I would turn up before long. 

But poor Prince Freeman was not so clever a judge of nature 
as Don Pedro. Freeman had heard of my death; and, imbued 
as he was with the superstitions of his country, nobody could 
make him credit my existence till he despatched a committee to 
my factory, headed by his son, to report the facts. But then, on 
the instant, the valiant prince paid me a visit of congratulation. 
As I held out both hands to welcome him, I saw the fellow shrink 
with distrust. 

" Count your fingers ! " said Freeman. 

" Well," said I, " what for ? — here they are — one — two — 
three — four — five — six — seven — eight — nine — ten ! " 

" Good — good ! " shouted the prince, as he clasped my digits. 
" White men tell too many lies 'bout the commodore ! White 
man say, John Bull catch commodore, and cut him fingers all 
ofl", so commodore no more can ' makee book ' for makee fool of 
John Bull 1 " Which, being translated into English, signifies 
that it was reported my fingers had been cut off by my British 
captors to prevent me from writing letters by which the innocent 
natives believed I so often bamboozled and deceived the cruisers 
of her Majesty. 

During my absence, a French captain, who was one of our 



376 CAPTAIN CANCT ; OR, 

most attentive friends, had left a donkey which he brought from 
the Cape de Verds for my especial delectation, by way of an oc- 
casional promenade a clieyal! I at once resolved to bestow 
the " long-eared convenience " on Freeman, not only as a type, 
but a testimonial ; yet, before a week was over, the unlucky 
quadruped reappeared at my quarters, with a message from the 
prince that it might do well enough for a bachelor like me, but 
its infernal voice was enough to cause the miscarriage of an en- 
tire harem, if not of every honest woman througljout his juris- 
diction ! The superstition spread like wildfire. The women 
were up in arms against the beast ; and I had no rest till I got 
rid of its serenades by despatching it to Monrovia, where the 
dames and damsels were not afraid of donkeys of any dimen- 
sions. 



I 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 377 



CHAPTER I^X. 

It was my habit to employ at New Sestros a clerk, storekeeper, 
and four seamen, all of whom were whites of reliable character, 
competent to aid me efficiently in the control of my barracoons. 

One of these sailors died of dropsy while in my service; and, 
as I write, the memory of his death flashes across my mind so 
vividly, that I cannot help recording it among the characteristic 
events of African coast- life. 

Sanchez, I think, was by birth a Spaniard ; at least his per- 
fect familiarity with the language, as well as name and appear- 
ance, induced me to believe that the greater part of his life must 
have been spent under the shield of Saint lago. The poor fel- 
low was ill for a long time, but in Africa, existence is so much a 
long-drawn malady, that we hardly heeded his bloated flesh or 
cadaverous skin, as he sat, day after day, musket in hand, at the 
gate of our barracoon. At last, however, his confinement to bed 
was announced, and every remedy within our knowledge applied 
for relief. This time, however, the summons was peremptory : 
the sentence was final; there was no reprieve. 

On the morning of his death, the suff"erer desired me to be 
called, and, sending away the African nurse and the two old com- 
rades who watched faithfully at his bedside, explained that he 
felt his end approaching, yet could not depart without easing his 
soul by confession ! 



378 CAPTAIN CANOT ; Oil, 

" Here, Don Teodor," said he, " are five ounces of gold — 
all I have saved in this world, — the lees of my life, — which I 
want you to take care of, and when I am dead send to my sister, 
who is married to , in Matanzas. AVill you promise ? " 

I promised. 

" And now, Don Teodor," continued he, " I must confess !^'' 

I could not repress a smile as I replied. — " But, Jose, I am 
no padre, you know ; a chrigo is no part of a slave factory ; I 
cannot absolve your sins ; and, as for my j^;?-a?/er5, poor fellow, 
alas ! what can they do for your sins when I fear they will hardly 
avail for my own ! " 

" It's all one, mi coqntan^'' answered the dying man ; " it 
makes not the least difference, Don Teodor, if you are a clergy- 
man or any thing else ; i# is the law of our church ; and when 
confession is over, a man's soul is easier under canvas, even if 
there's no regular padre at hand to loosen the ropes, and let 
one's sins fly to the four winds of heaven. Listen, — it will be 
short. 

" It is many years since I sailed from Havana with that no- 
torious slaver, Miguel , whose murder you may have 

heard of on the coast. Our vessel was in capital order for speed 
as well as cargo, and we reached Cape Mount after a quick voyage. 
The place, however, was so bare of slaves, that we coasted the 
reefs till we learned from a Mesurado Krooman that, in less than 
a month, the supply at Little Bassa would be abundant. We 
shipped the savage with his boatman, and next day reached our 
destination. 

" Miguel was welcomed warmly by the chiefs, who offered a 
choice lot of negroes for a portion of our cargo, inviting the cap- 
tain to tarry with the rest of his merchandise and establish a 
factory. He assented ; our brig was sent home with a short 
cargo, while I and two others landed with the captain, to aid in 
the erection and defence of the requisite buildings. 

" It did not take long to set up our bambio houses and open 
a trade, for whose supply Miguel began an intercourse with Cape 
Mesurado, paying in doubloons and receiving his merchandise in 
vessels manned by American blacks. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 379 

" Our captain was no niggard in housekeeping. Bountiful 
meals every day supplied his friends and factory. No man went 
from his door hungry or dissatisfied. When the colonists came 
up in their boats with goods, or walked the beach from the Cape 
to our settlement, Miguel was always alert with a welcome. A 
great intimacy, of course, ensued ; and, among the whole crowd 
of traffickers, none were higher in our chief's estimation than a 

certain T , who rarely visited the barracoo7is without a 

gift from Miguel, in addition to his stipulated pay. 

" In due time the brig returned from Havana, with a cargo 
of rum, tobacco, powder, and a box of doubloons ; but she was 
ordered to the Cape de Yerds to change her flag. In the interval, 
the Mesurado colonists picked a quarrel with the Trade-Town 
chiefs, and, aided by an American vessel, under Colombian colors, 
landed a division of colonial troops and destroyed the Spanish 
barracoons.* 

" The ruin of a Spanish factory could not be regarded by our 
captain with any other feeling than that of resentment. Still, 
he manifested his sensibility by coolness towards the colonists, 
or by refraining from that 2J''<^'fitable welcome to which they had 
hitherto been accustomed. But the Monrovians were not to be 
rebuffed by disdain. They had heard, I suppose, of the box of 
doubloons, and Miguel was " a good fellow," in spite of his fri- 
gidity. They were kis friends for ever, and all the harm that had 
been done his countrymen was attributable alone to their Colom- 
bian foes, and not to the colonists. Such were the constant 
declarations of the Monrovians, as they came, singly and in 

squads, to visit us after the Trade-Town plunder. T , in 

particular, was loud in his protestations of regard ; and such was 
the earnestness of his manner, that Miguel, by degrees, restored 
him to confidence. 

" Thus, for a while, all things went smoothly, till T 

reached our anchorage, with several passengers in his craft, 
boutid. as they said, to Grand Bassa. As usual on such visits, 
the whole party dined with Miguel at four in the afternoon, and, 

* The reader will recollect this is not Caxot's story, but the sailor's. 



380 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

at six, retired towards their vessel, with a gift of provisions and 
liquor for their voyage. 

'• About eight o'clock, a knocking at our gates — closed invari- 
ably at dark, according to custom — gave notice tliat our recent 
guests had returned. They craved hospitality for the night. 
They had dallied a couple of hours on the beach, with the hope 
of getting off, but the surf was so perilous that no Kroomen 
would venture to convey them through the breakers. 

" Such an appeal was, of course, enough for the heart of a 
courteous Spaniard, — and, on the coast, you know, it is impera- 
tive. Miguel opened the door, and, in an instant, fell dead on 
the threshold, with a ball in his skull. Several guns were dis- 
charged, and the house filled with colonists. At the moment of 
attack I was busy in the barracoon ; but, as soon as I came 
forth, the assailants approached in such numbers that I leaped 
the barriers and hid myself in the forest till discovered by some 
friendly natives. 

" I remained with these Africans several weeks, while a canoe 
was summoned from Gallinas for my rescue. From thence I 
sailed to Cuba, and was the first to apprise our owners of the 
piratical onslaught by which the factory had been destroyed. 

'• After this, I made several successful voyages to the coast ; 
and. at last, sauntering one evening along the pas eo at Havana, I 
met Don Miguel's brother, who, after a sorrowful chat about the 
tragedy, oiFered me a quarter-master's berth, in a brig he was 
fitting out for Africa. It was accepted on the spot. 

" In a month we w^ere oft' Mesurado, and cruised for several 
days from the cape to Grand Bassa, avoiding every square- 
rigged vessel that loomed above the horizon. At length, we 
espied a small craft beating down the coast. We bore the stran- 
ger company for several hours, till, suddenly taking advantage 
of her long tack out to sea, we gave chase and cut oft' her return 
towards land. 

" It was a fine afternoon, and the sun was yet an hour in the 
sky when we intercepted the schooner. As we ran alongside, I 
thought I recognized the faces of several who, in days of old, 
were familiar in our factory, — but what was my surprise, when 



TWENTY i'EARS OF AN AFllICAN SLAVER. 381 

T himself came to the gangway, and hailed us in 

Spanish ! 

" I pointed out the miscreant to my comrade, and, in an in- 
stant, he was in our clutches. We let the sun go down before 
we contrived a proper death for the felon. His five companions, 
double-ironed, were nailed beneath the hatches in the hold. 
After this, we riveted the murderer, in chains, to the mainmast, 
and, for better security, fastened his spread arms to the deck by 
spikes through his hands. Every sail was then set on the craft, 
two barrels of tar were poured over the planks, and a brand was 
thrown in the midst of the combustible materials. For a while, 
the schooner was held by a hawser till we saw the flames spread 
from stern to cut-water, and then, with a cheer, aclios ! It was 
a beautiful sight, — that auto da-fe on the sea, in the darkness ! 

" My confession, Don Teodor, is over. From that day, I 
have never been within a church or alongside a padre ; but I 
could not die without sending the gold to my sister, and begging 
a mass in some parish for the rest of my soul ! " 

I felt very conscious that I was by no means the person to 
afford ghostly consolation to a dying man under such circum- 
stances, but while I promised to fulfil his request carefully, I 
could not help inquiring whether he sincerely repented these 
atrocious deeds ? 

" Ah ! yes, Don Teodor, a thousand times ! Many a night, 
when alone on my watch at sea, or in yonder stockade, marching 
up and down before the barracooji,, I have wept like a child for 
the innocent crew of that little schooner ; but, as for the mur- 
derer of Do7i Miguel — .' " He stared wildly for a minute into 
my eyes — shuddered — fell back — was dead ! 

I have no doubt the outlaw's story contained exaggerations, 
or fell from a wrecked mind that was drifting into eternity on 
the current of delirium. I cannot credit his charge against the 
Monrovian colonists ; yet I recount the narrative as an illustra- 
tion of many a bloody scene that has stained the borders of 
Africa. 



382 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OKj 



CHAPTER LXI. 

During my first visit to Digby, I promised my trading friends — 
perhaps rather rashly — that I would either return to their settle- 
ment, or, at least, send merchandise and a clerk to establish a 
factory. This was joyous news for the traffickers, and, accord- 
ingly, I embraced an early occasion to despatch, in charge of a 
clever young sailor, such stuffs as would be likely to tickle the 
negro taste. 

There were two towns at Digby, governed by cousins who 
had always lived in harmony. My mercantile venture, however, 
was unhappily destined to be the apple of discord between these 
relatives. The establishment of so important an institution as a 
slave-factory within the jurisdiction of the j'ounger savage, gave 
umbrage to the elder. His town could boast neither of " mer- 
chandise " nor a " white man ; " there was no profitable tax to 
be levied from foreign traffic ; and, in a very short time, this 
unlucky partiality ripened the noble kinsmen into bitter enemies. 

It is not the habit in Africa for negroes to expend their 
wrath in harmless words, so that preparations were soon made in 
each settlement for defence as well as hostility. Both towns 
were stockaded and carefully watched by sentinels, day and night. 
At times, forays were made into each other's suburbs, but as the 
chiefs were equally vigilant and alert, the extent of harm was the 
occasional capture of women or children, as they wandered to 
the forest and stream for wood and water. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 383 

This dalliance, however, did not suit the ardor of my angry 
favorite. After wasting a couple of months, he purchased the 
aid of certain bushmen^ headed by a notorious scoundrel named 
Jen-ken, who had acquired renown for his barbarous ferocity 
throughout the neighborhood. Jen-ken and his chiefs were can- 
nibals, and never trod the war-path without a pledge to return 
laden with human flesh to gorge their households. 

Several assaults were made by this savage and his biishmen 
on the dissatisfied cousin, but as they produced no significant 
results, the barbarians withdrew to the interior. A truce 
ensued. Friendly proposals were made by the younger to the 
elder, and again, a couple of months glided by in seeming peace. 

Just at this time business called me to Gallinas. On my 
way thither I looked in at Digby, intending to supply the dis- 
pleased chieftain with goods and an agent if I found the establish- 
ment profitable. 

It was sunset when I reached the beach ; too late, of course, 
to land my merchandise, so that I postponed furnishing both 
places until the morning. As might fairly be expected, there 
was abundant joy at my advent. The neglected rival was wild 
with satisfaction at the report that he, too, at length was favored 
with a " white-man." His " town " immediately became a 
scene of unbounded merriment. Powder was burnt without stint. 
Gallons of rum were distributed to both sexes ; and dancing, 
smoking and carousing continued till long after midnight, when 
all stole off to maudlin sleep. 

About three in the morning, the sudden screams of women 
and children aroused me from profound torpor ! Shrieks were 
followed by volleys of musketry. Then came a loud tattoo 
of knocks at my door, and appeals from the negro chief to rise 
and fly. " The town was besieged : — the head-men were on the 
point of escaping : — resistance was vain : — they had been be- 
trayed : — there were no fighters to defend the stockade !" 

I was opening the door to comply with this advice, when my 
Kroomen, who knew the country's ways even better than I, dis- 
suaded me from departing, with the confident assurance that our 
assailants were unquestionably composed of the rival townsfolk, 



384 CAPTAIN 



1 



•who had only temporarily discharged the bushmen to deceive my 
entertainer. The Kroos insisted that I had nothing to fear. We 
might, they said, be seized and even imprisoned ; but after a 
brief detention, the captors would be glad enough to accept 
our ransom. If we fled, we might be slaughtered by mistake. 

I had so much confidence in the sense and fidelity of the 
band that always accompanied me, — partly as boatmen and partly 
as body guard, — that I experienced very little personal alarm 
when I heard the shouts as the savages rushed through the town 
murdering every one they encountered. In a few moments our 
own door was battered down by the barbarians, and Jen-ken, 
torch in hand, made his appearance, claiming us as prisoners. 

Of course, we submitted without resistance, for although 
fully armed, the odds were so great in those ante revolver days, 
that we would have been overwhelmed by a single wave of the 
infuriated crowd. The barbarian chief instantly selected our 
house for his headquarters, and despatched his followers to 
complete their task. Prisoner after prisoner was thrust in. 
At times the heavy mash of a war club and the cry of strangling 
women, gave notice that the work of death was not yet ended. 
But the night of horror wore away. The gray dawn crept 
through our hovel's bars, and all was still save the groans of 
wounded captives, and the wailing of women and children. 

By degrees, the warriors dropped in around their chieftain. 
A palaver-house^ immediately in front of my quarters, was the 
general rendezvous ; and scarcely a bushman appeared without 
the body of some maimed and bleeding victim. The mangled 
but living captives were tumbled on a heap in the centre, and 
soon, every avenue to the square was crowded with exulting 
savages. Bum was brought forth in abundance for the chiefs. 
Presently, slowly approaching from a distance, I heard the 
drums, horns, and war-bells ; and, in less than fifteen minutes, a 
procession of women, whose naked limbs were smeared with chalk 
and ochre, poured into the palaver-house to join the beastly rites. 
Each of these devils was armed with a knife, and bore in her 
hand some cannibal trophy. Jen-ken's wife, — a corpulent wench 
of forty-five, — dragged along the ground, by a single limb, the 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 385 

slirny corpse of an infant ripped alive from its mother's womb. 
As her eyes met those of her husband the two fiends yelled forth 
a shout of mutual joy, while the lifeless babe was tossed in the 
air and caught as it descended on the point of a spear. Then 
came the refreshment^ in the shape of rum, powder, and blood, 
which was quafi"ed by the brutes till they reeled off, with linked 
hands, in a wild dance around the pile of victims. As the 
women leaped and sang, the men applauded and encouraged. 
Soon, the ring was broken, and, with a yell, each female leaped 
on the body of a wounded prisoner and commenced the final 
.sacrifice with the mockery of lascivious embraces ! 

In my wanderings in African forests I have often seen the 
tiger pounce upon its prey, and, with instinctive thirst, satiate 
its appetite for blood and abandon the drained corpse ; but these 
African negresses were neither as decent nor as merciful as the 
beast of the wilderness. Their malignant pleasure seemed to 
consist in the invention of tortures, that would agonize but not 
slay. There was a devilish spell in the tragic scene that fasci- 
nated my eyes to the spot. A slow, lingering, tormenting muti- 
lation was practised on the living, as well as on the dead ; and, 
in every instance, the brutality of the women exceeded that of 
the men. I cannot picture the hellish joy with which they pass- 
ed from body to body, digging out eyes, wrenching off lips, 
tearing the ears, and slicing the flesh from the quivering bones ; 
while the queen of the harpies crept amid the butchery gathering 
the brains from each severed skull as a bonne bouche for the ap- 
proaching feast ! 

After the last victim yielded his life, it did not require long 
to kindle a fire, produce the requisite utensils, and fill the air 
with the odor of human flesh. Yet, before the various messes 
were half broiled, every mouth was tearing the dainty morsels 
with shouts of joy, denoting the combined satisfaction of revenge 
and appetite ! In the midst of this appalling scene, I heard a 
fresh cry of exultation, as a pole was borne into the apartment, 
on which was impaled the living body of the conquered chief- 
tain's wife. A hole was quickly dug, the stave planted and 
fagots supplied ; but before a fire could be kindled the wretched 
17 



386 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

woman was dead, so that the barbarians were defeated in their 
hellish scheme of burning her alive. 

I do not know how long these brutalities lasted, for I remem- 
ber very little after this last attempt, except that the bushmen 
packed in plantain leaves whatever flesh was left from the orgie, 
to be conveyed to their friends in the forest. This was the 
first time it had been my lot to behold the most savage develop- 
ment of African nature under the stimulus of war. The butch- 
ery ipade me sick, dizzy, paralyzed. I sank on the earth benumbed 
with stupor ; nor was I aroused till nightfall, when my Kroomen 
bore me to the conqueror's town, and negotiated our redemption 
for the value of twenty slaves. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 387 



CHAPTEK LXII. 

I HOPE that no one will believe I lingered a moment in Digby, 
or ever dealt again with its miscreants, after the dreadful catas- 
trophe I have described in the last chapter. It is true that this 
tragedy might never have happened within the territory of the 
rival kinsmen had not the temptations of slave-trade been offered 
to their passionate natures ; yet the event was so characteristic, 
not only of slave-war but of indigenous barbarity, that I dared 
not withhold it in these sketches of my life. 

Light was not gleaming over the tops of the forest next 
morning before I was on the beach ready to embark for Gallinas. 
But the moon was full, and the surf so high that my boat could 
not be launched. Still, so great were my sufferings and disgust 
that I resolved to depart at all hazards ; and divesting myself 
of my outer garments, I stepped into a native canoe with one 
man only to manage it, and dashed through the breakers. Our 
provisions consisted of three bottles of gin, a jug of water, and a 
basket of raw cassava, while a change of raiment and my accounts 
were packed in an air-tight keg. Kough as was the sea, we suc- 
ceeded in reaching the neighborhood of Gallinas early next 
morning. My Spanish friends on shore soon detected me with 
their excellent telescopes, by my well-known cruising dress of 
red flannel shirt and Panama hat; but, instead of running to 



388 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

the beach with a welcome, they hoisted the black flag, which is 
ever a signal of warning to slavers. 

My Krooman at once construed the telegraphic despatch as 
an intimation that the surf was impassable. Indeed, the fact 
was visible enough even to an uninstructed eye, as we approach 
ed the coast. For miles along the bar at the river's mouth, the 
breakers towered up in tall masses, whitening the whole extent 
of beach with foam. As our little canoe rose on the top of the 
swell, outside the rollers, I could see my friends waving their 
hats towards the southward, as if directing my movements towards 
Cape Mount. 

In my best days on the coast I often swam in perilous seasons 
a far greater distance than that which intervened betwixt my boat 
and the shore. My companions at Gallinas well knew my dexteri- 
ty in the water, and I could not comprehend, therefore, why they 
forbade my landing, with so much earnestness. In fact, their zeal 
somewhat nettled me, and I began to feel that dare-devil resistance 
which often goads us to acts of madness which make us heroes if 
successful, but fools if we fail. 

It was precisely this temper that determined me to hazard tho 
bar ; yet, as I rose on my knees to have a better view of the ap- 
proaching peril, I saw the black flag thrice lowered in token of 
adieu. Immediately afterward it was again hoisted over the 
effigy of an enormous shark ! 

In a twinkling, I understood the real cause of danger, which 
no alacrity or courage in the water could avoid, and comprehend- 
ed that my only hope was in the open sea. A retreat to Cape 
Mount was a toilsome task for my weary Krooman^ who had been 
incessantly at work for twenty-four hours. Yet, there were but 
two alternatives, — either to await the subsidence of the surf, or 
the arrival of some friendly vessel. In the mean time, I eat my 
last morsel of cassava, while the Krooman stretched himself in 
the bottom of the canoe, — half in the water and half in the glaring 
sun, — and went comfortably to sleep. 

I steered the boat with a paddle, as it drifted along with tide 
and current, till the afternoon, when a massive pile of clouds in 
the south-east gave warning of one of those tornadoes which de- 



i 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 389 

luge the coast of Africa in the months of March and April. A 
stout punch in the Krooman's ribs restored him to consciousness 
from his hydropathic sleep ; but he shivered as he looked at the 
sky and beheld a token of that greatest misfortune that can befall 
a negro, — a wet skin at sea from a shower of rain. 

We broached our last bottle to battle the chilling element. 
Had we been in company with other canoes, our first duty would 
have been to lash the skifi's together so as to breast the gusts and 
chopping sea with more security ; but as I was entirely alone, our 
sole reliance was on the expert arm and incessant vigilance of 
my companion. 

I will not detain the reader by explaining the simple process 
that carried us happily through the deluge. By keeping the canoe 
bow on, we nobly resisted the shock of every wave, and gradually 
fell back under the impulse of each undulation. Thus we held on 
till the heavy clouds discharged their loads, beating down the sea 
and half filling the canoe with rain water. While the Krooman 
paddled and steered, I conducted the bailing, and as the African 
dipper was not sufficient to keep us free, I pressed my Panama hat 
into service as an extra hand. 

These savage squalls on the African coast, at the beginning of 
the rainy season, are of short duration, so that our anxiety quickly 
left us to the enjoyment of soaking skins. A twist at my red 
flannel relieved it of superabundant moisture, but as the negro 
delighted in no covering except his flesh, an additional kiss of 
the bottle was the only comfort I could bestow on his shivering 
limbs. 

This last dram was our forlorn hope, but it only created a 
passing comfort, which soon went off" leaving our bodies more chill 
and dejected than before. My head swam with feverish empti- 
ness. I seemed suddenly possessed by a feeling of wild indepen- 
dence — seeing nothing, fearing nothing. Presently, this died 
away, and I fell back in utter helplessness, wholly benumbed. 

I do not remember how long this stupor lasted, but I was 
aroused by the Krooman with the report of a land breeze, and a 
sail which he declared to be a cruiser. It cost me considerable 
eff"ort to shake off my lethargy, nor do I know whether I would 



390 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 



1 



have succeeded had there not been a medical magic in the idea of 
a man-of-war, which flashed athwart my miud a recollection of the 
slave accounts in our keg ! 

I had hardly time to throw the implement overboard before 
the craft was within hail ; but instead of a cruiser she turned out 
to be a slaver, destined, like myself, for Gallinas. A warm wel- 
come awaited me in the cabin, and a comfortable bed with plenty 
of blankets restored me for a while to health, though in all likeli- 
hood my perilous flight from Digby and its horrors, will ache 
rheumatically in my limbs till the hour of my death. 

It was well that I did not venture through the breakers on the 
day that the dead shark was hoisted in terrorem as a telegraph. 
Such was the swarm of these monsters in the surf of Gallinas, 
that more than a hundred slaves had been devoured by them in 
attempting a shipment a few nights before ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 391 



CHAPTER LXIII. 

"Don Pedro Blanco had left Gallinas, — a retired millionnaire ! '* 
When I heard this announcement at the factory, I could with 
difficulty restrain the open expression of my sorrow. It confirm- 
ed me in a desire that for some time had been strengthening 
in my mind. Years rolled over my head since, -first of all, I 
plunged accidentally into the slave trade. My passion for a roving 
life and daring adventure was decidedly cooled. The late bar- 
barities inflicted on the conquered in a war of which I was the in- 
voluntary cause, appalled me with the traffic ; and humanity called 
louder and louder than ever for the devotion of my remaining 
days to honest industry. 

As I sailed down the coast to restore a child to his father, — 
the King of Cape Mount, — I was particularly charmed with the 
bold promontory, the beautiful lake, and the lovely islands, that 
are comprised in this enchanting region. When I delivered the 
boy to his parent, the old man's gratitude knew no bounds for 
his ofi"spring's redemption from slavery. Every thing was ten- 
dered for my recompense; and, as I seemed especially to enjoy the 
delicious scenery of his realm, he offered me its best location as a 
gift, if I desired to abandon the slave trade and establish a law- 
ful factory. 

I made up my mind on the spot that the day should come 
when I would be lord and master of Cape Mount ; and, nestling 
under the lee of it8 splendid headland, might snap my fingers at 



392 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

the cruisers. Still I could not, at once, retreat from my estab- 
lishment at New Sestros. Don Pedro's departure was a sore dis- 
appointment, because it left my accounts unliquidated and my re- 
lease from the trade dependent on circumstances. Nevertheless, 
I resolved to risk his displeasure by quitting the factory for a 
time, and visiting him at Havana after a trip to England. 



It was in the summer of 1839 that I arranged my affairs for 
a long absence, and sailed for London in the schooner Gil Bias. 
^Ve had a dull passage till we reached the chops of the British 
Channel, whence a smart south-wester drove us rapidly towards our 
destination. 

Nine at night was just striking from the clocks of Dover when 
a bustle on deck, a tramping of feet, a confused sound of alarm, 
orders, obedience and anxiety, was followed by a tremendous crash 
which prostrated me on the cabin floor, whence I bounded, with a 
single spring, to the deck. " A steamer had run us down ! " 
Aloft, towered a huge black wall, while the intruder's cut-water 
pressed our tiny craft almost beneath the tide. There was no 
time for deliberation. The steamer's headway was stopped. The 
Gil Bias, like her scapegrace godfather, was in peril of sinking; 
and as the wheels began to revolve and clear the steamer from 
our wreck, every one scrambled in the best way he could on board 
the destroyer. 

Our reception on this occasion by the British lion was not 
the most respectful or hospitable that might be imagined. In fact, 
no notice was taken of us by these " hearts of oak," till a clever 
Irish soldier, who happened to be journeying to Dublin, invited 
us to the forward cabin. Our mate, however, would not listen to 
the proposal, and hastening to the quarter-deck, coarsely upbraid- 
ed the steamer's captain with his misconduct, and demanded suit- 
able accommodations for his wounded commander and passen- 
gers. 

In a short time the captain of the Gil Bias and I were con- 
ducted to the "gentlemen's cabin," and as I was still clad in the 



TWEXTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 393 

thin cotton undress in which I was embarking for the land of 
dreams, when the accident occurred, a shirt and trowsers were 
handed me fresh from the slop-shop. When my native servant 
appearc d in the cabin, a shower of coppers greeted him from the 
passengers. 

Next morning we were landed at Cowes, and as the steward 
claimed the restitution of a pair of slippers in which I had encased 
my toes, I was forced to greet the loyal earth of England with 
bare feet as well as uncovered head. Our sailors, however, were 
better off. In the forecastle they had fallen into the hands of 
Samaritans. A profusion of garments was furnished for all their 
wants, while a subscription, made up among the soldiers and wo. 
men, supplied them with abundance of coin for their journey to 
London. 



An economical life in Africa, and a series of rather profitable 
voyages, enabled me to enjoy my wish to see London, " above 
stairs as well as below." 

I brought with me from Africa a body servant named Lunes, 
an active youth, whose idea of city-life and civilization had been 
derived exclusively from glimpses of New Sestros and Gallinas. 
I fitted him out on my arrival in London as a fashionable " tiger," 
with red waistcoat, corduroy smalls, blue jacket and gold band; 
and trotted him after me wherever I went in search of diversion. 
It may be imagined that I was vastly amused by the odd remarks 
and the complete amazement, with which this savage greeted 
every object of novelty or interest. After he became somewhat 
acquainted with the streets of London, Lunes occasionally made 
explorations on his own account, yet he seldom came back with- 
out a tale that showed the African to have been quite as much a 
curiosity to the cockneys as the cockneys were to the darkey. 

It happened just at this time that " Jim Crow " was the rage 
at one of the minor theatres, and as I felt interested to know how 
the personification would strike the boy, I sent him one night to 
the gallery with orders to return as soon as the piece was con- 
cluded. But the whole night passed without the appearance of 
17* 



394 CAPTAIN CANGT ; OR, 



my valet. Next morning I became anxious about his fate, and 
after waiting in vain till noon, I employed a reliable officer to 
search for the negro, without disclosing the fact of his servitude. 

In the course of a few hours poor Lunes was brought to me 
in a most desolate condition. His clothes were in rags, and his 
gold-lace gone. It appeared that " Jim Crow " had outraged his 
sense of African character so greatly that he could not restrain 
his passion ; but vented it in the choicest billingsgate with which 
his vocabulary had been furnished in the forecastle of the " Gil 
Bias." His criticism of the real Jim was by no means agree- 
able to the patrons of the fictitious one. In a moment there was 
a row ; and the result was, that Lunes after a thorough dilapida- 
tion of his finery, departed in custody of the police, more, how- 
ever, for the negro's protection than his chastisement. 

The loss of his dashing waistcoat, and the sound thrashing he 
received at the hands of a London mob while asserting the 
dignity of his country, and a night in the station house, spoiled 
my boy's opinion of Great Britain. I could not induce him 
afterwards to stir from the house without an escort, nor would he 
believe that every policeman was not specially on the watch to 
apprehend him. I was so much attached to the fellow, and his 
suflerings became so painful, that I resolved to send hira back to 
Africa ; nor shall I ever forget his delight when my decision was 
announced. The negro's joy, however, was incomprehensible to 
my fellow-lodgers, and especially to the gentle dames, who could 
not believe that an African, whose liberty was assured in Eng- 
land, would voluvtarily return to Africa and slavery ! 

One evening, just before his departure, Lunes was sternly 
tried on this subject in my presence in the parlor, yet nothing 
could make him revoke his trip to the land of palm-trees and 
malaria. London was too cold for him ; — he hated stockings ; — 
shoes were an abomination ! 

" Yet, tell me, Lunes," said one of the most bewitching of 
my fair friends, — " how is it that you go home to be a slave, 
when you may remain in London as a freeman ? " 

I will repeat his answer — divested of its native gibberish : 

" Yes, Madam, I go — because I like my country best ; if I 



1 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 395 

am to be a slave or work, I want to do so for a true Spaniard. 
I don't like this thing, Miss," — pointing to his shirt collar, — " it 
cuts my ears ; — I don't like this thing " — pointing to his trowsers ; 
" I like my country's fashion better than yours ; '' — and, taking 
out a large handkerchief, he gave the inquisitive dame a rapid 
demonstration of African economy in concealing nakedness, by 
twisting it round those portions of the human frame which 
modesty is commonly in the habit of hiding ! 

There was a round of applause and a blaze of blushes at this 
extemporaneous pantomime, which Lunes concluded with the 
assurance that he especially loved his master, because, — " when 
he grew to be a proper man, I would give him plenty of wives !" 

I confess that my valet's philanthropic audience was not 
exactly prepared for this edifying culmination in favor of Africa ; 
but, while my friends were busy in obliterating the red and the 
wrinkles from their cheeks, I took the liberty to enjoy, from 
behind the shadow of my tea cup, the manifest disgust they felt 
for the bad taste of poor Lunes ! 



396 



OR, 



CHAPTER LXIV. 

By this time my curiosity was not only satiated by the diversions 
of the great metropolis, but I had wandered off to the country 
and visited the most beautiful parts of the islands. Two months 
thus slipped by delightfully in Great Britain when a sense of 
duty called me to Havana ; yet, before my departure, I resolved, 
if possible, to secure the alliance of some opulent Englishman to 
aid me in the foundation and maintenance of lawful commerce at 
Cape Mount. Such a person I found in Mr. George Clevering 
Kedman, of London, who owned the Gil Bias, which, with two 
other vessels, he employed in trade between England and Africa. 

I had been introduced to this worthy gentleman as " a lawful 
trader on the coast," still, as I did not think that business rela- 
tions ought to exist between us while he was under so erroneous 
an impression, I seized an early opportunity to unmask myself. At 
the same time, I announced my unalterable resolution^to abandon 
a slaver's life for ever ; to establish a trading post at some fortu- 
nate location ; and, while I recounted the friendship and peculiar 
bonds between the king and myself, offered to purchase Cape 
Mount from its African proprietor, if such an enterprise should 
be deemed advisable. 

Redman was an enterprising merchant. He heard my 
proposal with interest, and, after a few days' consideration, as- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 397 

sented to a negotiation, as soon as I gave proofs of having 
abandoned the slave traffic for ever. It was understood that no 
contract was to be entered into, or document signed, till I was at 
liberty to withdraw completely from Don Pedro Blanco and all 
others concerned with him. This accomplished, I was to revisit 
England and assume my lawful functions. 



When I landed in the beautiful Queen of the Antilles I found 
Don Pedro in no humor to accede to these philanthropic notions. 
The veteran slaver regarded me, no doubt, as a sort of cross 
between a fool and zealot. An American vessel had been recently 
chartered to carry a freight to the coast ; and, accordingl}^, instead 
of receiving a release from servitude, I was ordered on board the 
craft as supercargo of the enterprise ! In fact, on the third day 
after my arrival at Havana, I was forced to re-embark for the 
coast without a prospect of securing my independence. 

The reader may ask why I did not burst the bond, and free 
myself at a word from a commerce with which I was disgusted ? 
The question is natural — but the reply is human. I had too 
large an unliquidated interest at New Sestros, and while it 
remained so, I was not entitled to demand from my employer a 
final settlement for my years of labor. -In other words I was in 
his power, so far as my means were concerned, and my services 
were too valuable to be surrendered by him voluntarily. 

A voyage of forty-two days brought me once more to New 
Sestros, accompanied by a couple of negro women, who paid 
their passage and were lodged very comfortably in the steerage. 
The elder was about forty and extremely corpulent, while her 
companion was younger as well as more comely. 

This respectable dame, after an absence of twenty-four years, 
returned to her native Gallinas, on a visit to her father, king 
Shiakar. At the age of fifteen, she had been taken prisoner and 
sent to Havana. A Cuban confectioner purchased the likely 
girl, and, for many years, employed her in hawking his cakes and 
pies. In time she became a favorite among the townsfolk, and, 



398 CAPTAIN canot; op., 



i 



by degrees, managed to accumulate a sufficient amount to pur 
chase her freedom. Years of frugality and thrift made her pro- 
prietor of a house in the city and an egg-stall in the market, 
when chance threw in her way a cousin, lately imported from 
Africa, who gave her news of her father's family. A quarter of 
a century had not extinguished the natural fire in this negro's 
heart, and she immediately resolved to cross the Atlantic and 
behold once more the savage to whom she owed her birth. 

I sent these adventurous women to Gallinas by the earliest 
trader that drifted past New Sestros, and learned that they were 
welcomed among the islands with all the ceremony common 
among Africans on such occasions. Several canoes were de- 
spatched to the vessel, with flags, tom-toms, and horns, to receive 
and welcome the ladies. On the shore, a procession was formed, 
and a bullock offered to the captain in token of gratitude for his 
attention. 

When her elder brother was presented to the retired egg- 
merchant, he extended his arras to embrace his kinswoman ; but, 
to the amazement of all, she drew back with a mere offer of her 
hand, refusing every demonstration of affection till he should 
appear dressed with becoming decency. This rebuke, of course, 
kept the rest of her relatives at bay, for there was a sad defi- 
ciency of trowsers in the gang, and it was the indispensable gar- 
ment that caused so unsisterly a reception. 

But Shiakar's daughter, travelled as she was, could neither 
set the fashions nor reform the tastes of Gi-allinas. After a so- 
journ of ten days, she bade her kindred an eternal adieu, and 
returned to Havana, disgusted with the manners and customs 
of her native land. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 399 



CHAPTER LXV. 

On ray return to New Sestros, I found tliat the colonial author- 
ities of Liberia had been feeling the pulse of my African friend, 
Freeman, in order to secure the co-operation of that distinguished 
personage in the suppression of the slave traflfic. Freeman pro- 
fessed his willingness to conclude a treaty of commerce and 
amity with Governor Buchanan, but respectfully declined to 
molest the factories within his domain. 

Still, Buchanan was not to be thwarted by a single refusal, 
and enlisted the sympathy of an ofl&cer in command of a United 
States cruiser, who accompanied the governor to the anchorage 
at New Sestros. As soon as these personages reached their des- 
tination, a note was despatched to the negro potentate, desiring 
him to expel from his territory all Spaniards who were possessed 
of factories. To this, it is said, the chief returned a short and 
tart rebuke for the interference with his independence ; where- 
upon the following singular missive was immediately delivered 
to the Spaniards : — 

" U. S. Brig DoLpmK, 
"New Sestros, March 6, 1840. 

" Sir : 

" I address you in consequence of having received a 
note from you a few evenings since ; but I wish it to be under- 



1 



400 CAPTAIN canot; or, ■ 

stood that this communication is intended for all or any persons 
who are now in New Sestros, engaged in the slave-trade. 

" I have received information that you now have, in your 
establishments on shore, several hundred negroes confined in bar- 
racoons, waiting for an opportunity to ship them. Whether you 
are Americans, English, French, Spaniards, or Portuguese, you 
are acting in violation of the established laws of your respective 
countries, and, therefore, are not entitled to any protection from 
your governments. You have placed yourselves beyond the 
protection of any civilized nation, as you are engaged in a traffic 
which has been made /Piracy by most of the Christian nations 
of the world. 

" As I have been sent by my government to root out, if pos- 
sible, this traffic on and near our settlements on the coast, I 
must now give you notice, that you must break up your estab- 
lishment at this point, in two weeks from this date ; failing to do 
so, I shall take such measures as I conceive necessary to attain 
this object. I will thank you to send a reply to this communi- 
cation immediately, stating your intentions, and also sending an 
account of the number of slaves you have on hand. 

" I am, &c., &c., &c., 

" Charles R. Bell, 
" Lieut. Com. U. S. Xaval Forcc.% Coast of Africa. 

" To Mr. A. Demer and others, 

" jS'ew Sestros, Coast of Africa" 

I do not know what reply was made to this communication, 
as a copy was not retained ; but when my clerk handed me the 
original letter from Lieutenant Bell, on my arrival from Cuba 
I lost no time in forwarding the following answer to Col. Hicks, 
at Monrovia, to be despatched by him to the American officer : 

" To Charles R. Bell, Esq., 
" Zrieut. Com. of the U. S. Forces, Coast of Africa, Monrovia. 

"New Sestros. April 2, 1840. 
" Sir : 

" Your letter of the 6th March, directed to the white 
residents of New Sestros, was handed me on my return to this 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 401 

country, and I am sorry I can make but the following short 
answer. 

" First, sir, you seem to assume a supremacy over the most 
civilized nations of the world, and, under the doubtful pretext 
of your nation's authority, threaten to land and destroy our pro- 
perty on these neutral shores. Next, you are pleased to inform 
us that all Christian nations have declared the slave-trade 
jnracy^ and that we are not entitled to any protection from our 
government. Why, then, do the Southern States of your great 
confederacy allow slavery, public auctions, transportation from 
one State to another, — not only of civilized black native subjects, 
— but of nearly white, American, Christian citizens ? Such is 
the case in your free and independent country ; and, though the 
slave trade is carried on in the United States of America with 
more brutality than in any other colony, I still hope you are a 
Christian ! 

" To your third article, wherein you observe, having " been 
sent by your government to root out this traffic, if possible, near 
your own settlements on the coast," — allow me to have my doubts 
of such orders. Your government could not have issued them 
without previously making them publicly known ; — and, permit 
mc to say, those Christian nations you are pleased to mention, 
are not aware that your nation had set up colonies on the coast 
of Africa. They were always led to believe that these Liberian 
settlements were nothing but Christian beneficial societies, 
humanely formed by private philanthropists, to found a refuge 
for the poor blacks born in America, who cannot be protected in 
their native country by the free and independent laws and insti- 
tutions of the United States. 

" If my argument cannot convince you that you are not justi- 
fied in molesting a harmless people on these desolate shores, 
allow me to inform you that, should you put your threats in exe- 
cution and have the advantage over us, many factories would suf- 
fer by your unjust attack, which would give them an indisputable 
right to claim high damages from your government. 

" Most of the white residents here, are, and have been, 
friendly to Americans at large ; some have been educated in 



402 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

your country, and it would be the saddest day of their lives, ii 
obliged to oppose by force of arms the people of a nation they 
love as much as their own countrymen. The undersigned, in 
particular, would wish to observe that the same spirit that led 
him to avenge Governor Findley's murder, will support him in 
defence of his property, though much against his inclination. 
" I remain, very respectfully, 

" Your obedient servant, 

" Theodore Canot." 

This diplomatic encounter terminated the onslaught. Bu- 
chanan, who was over hasty with military display on most oc- 
casions, made a requisition for volunteers to march against 
New Sestros. But the troops were never set in motion. In 
the many years of my residence in the colonial neighborhood, 
this was the only occasion that menaced our friendship or 
verged upon hostilities. 



Whilst I was abroad in England and Cuba, my charge 
d'affaires at New Sestros sent off a cargo of three hundred 
negroes, nearly all of whom were safely landed in the West 
Indies, bringing us a profit of nine thousand dollars. There 
were, however, still one hundred and fifty in our barrucoons to 
be shipped ; and, as the cargo from the Crawford was quickly 
exchanged with the natives for more slaves, in two months' time, 
I found my pens surcharged with six hundred human beings. 
Two other neighboring factories w^ere also crammed ; while, 
unfortunately, directly in front of us, a strong reinforcement of 
British men-of war kept watch and ward to prevent our de- 
pletion. 

No slaver dared show its topsails above the horizon. The 
season did not afi"ord us supplies from the interior. Very few 
coasters looked in at New Sestros ; and, as our stock of grain 
and provisions began to fail, the horrors of famine became the 
sole topic of conversation among our alarmed factors. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFlllCAN bLAVER. 403 

It -will readily be supposed that every effort was made, not 
only to economize our scanty stores, but to increase them 
through the intervention of boats that were sent far and wide to 
scour the coast for rice and cassava. Double and triple prices 
were offered for these articles, yet our agents returned without 
the required supplies. In fact, the free natives themselves were 
in danger of starvation, and while they refused to part with 
their remnants, even under the temptation of luxuries, they 
sometimes sent deputations to my settlement in search of 
food. 

By degrees I yielded to the conviction that I must diminish 
my mouths. First of all, I released the old and feeble from the 
barracoon. This, for a few days, afforded ample relief; but, as 
I retained only the staunchest, the remaining appetites speedily 
reduced our rations to a single meal pei- diem. At last, the 
steward reported, that even this allowance could be continued 
for little more than a week. In twelve days, at farthest, my re- 
sources would be utterly exhausted. 

In this extremity I summoned a council of neighboring 
chiefs, and exposing my situation, demanded their opinion as to 
a fitting course on the dreaded day. I had resolved to retain my 
blacks till the last measure was distributed, and then to liberate 
them to shift for themselves. 

But the idea of releasing six hundred famishing foemen 
struck the beach people with horror. It would, they said, be a 
certain source of war and murder ; and they implored me not 
to take such a step till they made every effort to ease my bur- 
den. As a beginning, they proposed at once relieving the barra- 
coon of a large portion of females and of all the male youths, 
who were to be fed and guarded by them, on my account, till 
better times. 

By this system of colonizing I got rid of the support of two 
hundred and twenty-five negroes; and, as good luck would have 
it, a visit from a friendly coaster enabled me, within ten days, 
to exchange my beautiful cutter " Buth " for a cargo of rice from 
the colony at Cape Palmas. 

It was fortunate that in a week after this happy relief the 



404 CAPTAIN CANOT J OR, 

British cruisers left our anchorage for a few days. No sooner' 
were they off, than a telegraph of smoke, which, in those days, 
was quite as useful on the African coast, as the electric is on 
ours, gave notice to the notorious " Volador." There was joy 
in the teeming factories when her signal was descried in the 
offing; and, before the following dawn, seven hundred and forty- 
nine human beings, packed within her one hundred and sixty-five 
tons, were on their way to Cuba. 

Tills was the last cargo of slaves I ever shipped/ 



TWENTY YfiARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVEll. 405 



CHAPTER LXVI. 

When the thought struck me of abandoning the slave-trade, and 
I had resolved to follow out the good impulse, I established a 
store in the neighborhood of my old barracoons with the design 
of trafficking in the produce of industry alone. This concern 
was intrusted to the management of a clever young colonist. 

It was about this time that the British brig of war Ter- 
magant held New Sestros in permanent blockade, forbidding even 
a friendly boat to communicate with my factory. Early one 
morning I was called to witness a sturdy chase between my scold- 
ing foe and a small sail which was evidently running for the shore 
in order to save her crew" by beaching. The British bull dog, 
however, was not to be deterred by the perils of the surf; and, 
holding on with the tenacity of fate, pursued the stranger, till 
he discovered that a large reinforcement of armed natives was 
arra3ed on the strand ready to protect the fugitives. Accord- 
ingly, the Englishmen refrained from assailing the mariners, 
and confined their revenge to the destruction of the craft. 

As this affray occurred within gunshot of my lawful factory, 
I hastened to the beach under the belief that some of my on- 
ployes had unluckily fallen into a difficulty with the natives. But 
on my arrival I was greeted by a well-known emissary from our 
headquarters at Gallinas, who bore a missive imparting the Vola- 
dor's arrival in Cuba with six hundred and eleven of her people. 
The letter furthermore apprised me that Don Pedro, who per- 



406 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

fiisted in sending merchandise to mj slave factory, still declined 
my resignation as his agent, but acknowledged a credit in his 
chest of thirteen thousand dollars for my commissions on the 
Volador's slaves. Here, then, were Confidence and Temptation, 
both resolutely profi'ered to lure me back to my ancient habits ! 

I was busily engaged on the sands, enforcing from the 
negroes a restitution of clothes to the plundered postman, when 
the crack of a cannon, higher up the beach, made me fear that an 
aggression was being committed against my homestead. Before 
I could depart, however, two more shots in the same quarter, 
left me no room to doubt that the Termagant was talking most 
shrewishly with my factory at New Sestros. 

I reached the establishment with all convenient speed, only 
to find it full of natives, who had been brought to the spot from 
the interior by the sound of a cannonade. The following letter 
from the captain of the man-of-war, it seems, had been landed in 
a fishing canoe very soon after my departure in the morning, and 
the shots, I suppose, were discharged to awake my attention 
to its contents. 

"Her Britannic Majesty's Ship Termagant, 
" O^New Sestros, Nov. 5, 1840. 
" Sir : 

" The natives or Kroomen of your settlement having 
this day fired on the boats of Her B. M. ship under my com- 
mand, while in chase of a Spanish boat with seven men going to 
New Sestros, I therefore demand the persons who fired on the 
boats, to answer for the same ; and, should this demand not be 
complied with, I shall take such steps as I deem proper to secure 
satisfaction. 

" I have addressed you on this occasion, judging by the 
interference of those blacks in your behalf, that they are insti- 
gated by you. 

" I have the honor to be, sir, your obed't serv't, 

" H. F. Seagram, 
" Lieut Com. 
"To Mr. T. Canot, 
New Sestros." 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 407 

"When this cartel fell into my hands it lacked but an hour of 
sunset. The beach was alive with angry rollers, while the Ter- 
magant was still under easy sail, hovering up and down the coast 
before my factory, evidently meditating the propriety of another 
pill to provoke my notice. 

I sat down at once and wrote a sort of model response, pro- 
mising to come on board bodily next morning to satisfy the lieu- 
tenant of my innocence ; but when I inquired for a Mercury to 
bea? my message, there was not a Krooman to be found willing to 
face either the surf or the British sailor. Accordingly, there was 
no alternative but to suffer my bamboo barracoons and factory to 
be blown about my ears by the English vixen, or to face the 
danger, in person, and become the bearer of my own message. 

The proposal sounded oddly enough in the ears of the Kroo- 
men, who, in spite of their acquaintance with my hardihood, 
could scarcely believe I would thrust my head into the very 
jaws of the lion. Still, they had so much confidence in the 
judgment displayed by white men on the coast, that I had little 
difficulty in engaging the boat and services of a couple of sturdy 
chaps ; and, stripping to my drawers, so as to be ready to swim. 
in the last emergency, I committed myself to their care. 

We passed the dangerous surf in safety, and in a quarter of an 
hour were alongside the Termagant, whose jolly lieutenant could 
not help laughing at the drenched uniform in which I saluted 
him at the gangway. Slaver as 1 was, he did not deny me the 
rites of hospitality. Dry raiment and a consoling glass were 
speedily supplied ; and with the reassured stamina of my im- 
proved condition, it may readily be supposed I was not long in 
satisfying the worthy Mr. Seagram that I had no concern in the 
encounter betwixt the natives and his boats. To clinch the ar- 
gument I assured the lieutenant that I was not only guiltless of 
the assault, but had made up my mind irrevocably to abandon 
the slave trade ! 

I suppose there was as much rejoicing that night on board 
the Termagant over the redeemed slaver, as there is in most 
churches over a rescued sinner. It was altogether too late and 
too dark for me to repeat the perils of the surf and sharks, so 



408 CAPTAIN canot; or, 






that I willingly accepted the offer of a bed, and promised to ac- i 
company Seagram in the morning to the prince. I 

Loud were the shouts of amazement and fear when the ne- 
groes saw me landing next day, side by side, in pleasant chat, 
with an officer, who, eighteen hours before, had been busy about 
my destruction. It was beyond their comprehension how an 
Englishman could visit my factory under such circumstances, nor 
could they divine how I escaped, after my voluntary surrender on 
board a cruiser. When the prince saw Seagram seated familfarly 
under my verandah, he swore that I must have some powerful 
fetiche or juju to compel the confidence of enemies ; but his 
wonder became unbounded when the officer proposed his entire 
abandonment of the slave trade, and I supported the lieutenanVs 
proposal ! 

I have hardly ever seen a man of any hue or character, so 
sorely perplexed as our African was by this singular suggestion. To 
stop the slave trade, unless by compulsion, was, in his eyes, the 
absolute abandonment of a natural appetite or function. At first, 
he believed we were joking. It was inconceivable that I, who for 
years had carried on the traffic so adroitly, could be serious in the 
idea. For half an hour the puzzled negro walked up and down the 
verandah, muttering to himself, stopping, looking at both of us, 
hesitating, and laughing, — till at last, as he afterwards confessed, 
he concluded that I was only " deceiving the Englishman,'''' 
and came forward with an offer to sign a treaty on the spot for 
the extinction of the traffic. 

Now the reader must bear in mind that I allowed the prince 
to mislead himself through his natural duplicity on this occasion, 
as I was thereby enabled to bring him again in contact with Sea- 
gram, and secure the support of British officers for my own 
purposes. 

In a few days the deed was done. The slave trade at New 
Sestros was formally and for ever abolished by the prince and 
myself. As I was the principal mover in the affair, I voluntarily 
surrendered to the British officer on the day of signature, one 
hundred slaves; in return for tvhich I was guarantied the safe 
removed of my valuable merchandise and property from the 
settlement. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 409 

It was a very short time after I had made all snug at New 
Sestros that misfortune fell suddenly on our parent nest at Galli- 
nas. The Hon. Joseph Denman, who was senior officer of the 
British squadron on the coast, unexpectedly landed two hundred 
men, and burnt or destroyed all the Spanish factories amid the 
lagunes and islets. By this uncalculated act of violence, the na- 
tives of the neighborhood were enabled to gorge themselves with 
property that was valued, I understand, at a very large sum. 
An event like this could not escape general notice along the 
African coast, and in a few days I began to hear it rumored and 
discussed among the savages in my vicinity. 

For a while it was still a mystery why /escaped while Galli- 
nas fell ; but at length the sluggish mind of Prince Freeman be- 
gan to understand my diplomacy, and, of course, to repent the 
sudden contract that deprived him of a right to rob me. Vexed 
by disappointment, the scoundrel assembled his minor chiefs, 
and named a day during which he knew the Termagant would be 
absent, to plunder and punish me for my interference with the 
welfare aLd " institutions " of his country. The hostile meeting 
took place without my knowledge, though it was disclosed to all 
my domestics, whose silence the prince had purchased. Indeed, 
I would have been completely surprised and cut off, had it not 
been for the friendly warning of the negro whose life 1 had 
saved from the saucy-wood ordeal. 

I still maintained in my service five white men, and four sail- 
ors who were wrecked on the coast and awaited a passage home. 
With this party and a few household negroes on whom reliance 
might be placed, I resolved at once to defend my quarters. My 
cannons were loaded, guards placed, muskets and cartridges dis- 
tributed, and even the domestics supplied with weapons ; yet, 
on the very night after the warning, every slave abandoned my 
premises, while even Lunes himself, — the companion of my jour- 
ney to London, and pet of the ladies, — decamped with my fayor- 
ite fowling piece. 

When I went my rounds next morning, I was somewhat disi- 
heartened by appearances ; but my spirit? "^eye quickly restored 
by the following letter from Seagram : 
18 



i 

410 CAPTAIN canot; or, 



II 



" Her B. M. Brig Termagant, off Trade-town, 
23J January, 1841. 
'' Sir, 
" In your letter of yesterday, you request protection for your 
property, and inform me that you are in danger from the princes. 
I regret, indeed, that such should be the case, more especially as 
they have pledged me their vrords, and signed a ^^ book '■ to the 
ellect that they would never again engage in the slave traffic. 
But, ((s I find you have acted in good faith since I commenced 
to treat with you on the subject^ I shall afford you every assist- 
ance in my power, and will land an armed party of twenty men 
before daylight on Monday. 

" I am, Sir, your obt. servt., 

" H. F. Seagram, Lieut. Com'g." 

The Termagant's unlooked-for return somewhat dismayed the 
prince and his ragamuffins, though he had contrived to assemble 
quite two thousand men about my premises. Towards noon, 
however, there were evident signs of impatience for the expected 
booty ; still, a wholesome dread of my cannon and small-arms, 
together with the cruiser's presence, prevented an open attack. 
After a while I perceived an attempt to set my stockade on fire, 
and as a conflagration would have given a superb opportunity to 
rob, I made the concerted signal for our British ally. In a twin- 
kling, three of the cruiser's boats landed an officer with twenty- 
five musketeers, and before the saA^ages could make the slightest 
show of resistance, I was safe under the bayonets of Saint 
George ! 

It is needless to set forth the details of my rescue. The prince 
and his poltroons were panic-struck ; and in three or four days 
my large stock of powder and merchandise was embarked with-» 
out loss for Monrovia. 



TWENTY TEAKS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 4ll 



CHAPTER LXVII. 

My harracoons and trading establishments were now totally de- 
stroyed, and I was once more afloat in the world. It imme- 
diately occurred to me that no opportunity would, perhaps, be 
more favorable to carry out my original designs upon Cape 
Mount, and when I sounded Seagram on the subject, he was not 
only willing to carry me there in his cruiser, but desired to wit- 
ness my treaty with the prince for a cession of territory. 

Our adieus to New Sestros were not very painful, and on the 
evening of the same day the Termagant hove to off the bold and 
beautiful hills of Cape Mount. As the breeze and sun sank to- 
gether, leaving a brilliant sky in the west, we descried from deck 
a couple of tall, raking masts relieved like cobwebs against the 
azure. From aloft, still more of the craft was visible, and 
from our lieutenant's report after a glance through his glass, 
there could be no doubt that the stranger was a slaver. 

Light as was the breeze, not a moment elapsed before the 
cruiser's jib was turned towards her natural enemy. For a while 
an ebb from the river and the faint night wind off shore, forced 
us seaward, yet at daylight we had gained so little on the chase, 
that she was still full seven miles distant. 

They who are familiar with naval life vrill appreciate the an- 
noying suspense on the Termagant when dawn revealed the calm 



41? CAPTAIN canot; or, 






sea, quiet sky, and tempting but unapproachable prize. The 
well-known "pluck of our British tars was fired by the alluring 
vision, and nothing was heard about decks but prayers for a puff 
and whistling for a breeze. Meanwhile, Seagram, the surgeon, 
and purser were huddled together on the quarter, cursing a calm 
which deprived them of prize-money if not of promotion. Our 
master's- mate and passed midshipman were absent in some of the 
brig's boats cruising off Gallinas or watching the roadstead of 
New Sestros. 

The trance continued till after breakfast, when our ofl&cers' 
impatience could no longer withstand the bait, and, though short 
of efficient boats, the yawl and lieutenant's gig were manned for 
a hazardous enterprise. The former was crammed with six sail- 
ors, two marines, and a supernumerary mate ; while the gig, a 
mere fancy craft, was packed with five seamen and four marines 
under Seagram himself. Just as this flotilla shoved off, a rough 
boatswain begged leave to fit out my nutshell of a native canoe ; 
and embarking with a couple of Kroomen, he squatted amidships, 
armed with a musket and cutlass ! 

This expedition exhausted our stock of nautical men so com- 
pletely, that as Seagram crossed the gangway he commended the 
purser and surgeon to my care, and left Her Majesty''s brig in 
charge of the reformed slaver ! 

No sooner did the chase perceive our manoeuvre, than, run- 
ning in her sweeps, she hoisted a Spanish flag and fired a warn- 
ing cartridge. A faint hurrah answered the challenge, while our 
argonauts kept on their way, till, from deck, they became lost 
below the horizon. Presently, however, the boom of another 
gun, followed by repeated discharges, rolled through the quiet 
air from the Spaniard, and the look-out aloft reported our boats 
in retreat. Just at this moment, a light breeze gave headway to 
the Termagant, so that I was enabled to steer towards the prize, 
but before I could overhaul our warriors, the enemy had received 
the freshening gale, and, under every stitch of canvas, stood 
rapidly to sea. 

When Seagram regained his deck, he was bleeding profusely 
from a wound in the head received from a handspike while at 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 413 

tempting to board. Besides this, two men were missing, while 
three had been seriously wounded by a shot that sunk the yawl. 
My gallant boatswain, however, returned unharmed, and, if I may 
believe the commander of the " Serea," — whom I encountered 
some time after, — this daring sailor did more execution with his 
musket than all the marines put together. The Kroo canoe 
dashed alongside with the velocity of her class, and, as a petty 
officer on the Spaniard bent over to sink the skiff with a ponder- 
ous top-block, our boatswain cleft his skull with a musket-ball, 
and brought home the block as a trophy ! In fact, Seagram con- 
fessed that the Spaniard behaved magnanimously; for the moment 
our yawl was sunk, Olivares cut adrift his boat, and bade the 
struggling swimmers return in it to their vessel. 

I have described this little affray not so much for its interest, 
but because it illustrates the vicissitudes of coast-life and the ra- 
pidity of their occurrence. Here was I, on the deck of a British 
man-of-war. in charge of her manoeuvres while in chase of a Span- 
iard, who, for aught I knew, might have been consigned to me 
for slaves ! I gave my word to Seagram as he embarked, to 
manage his ship, and had I attained a position that w^ould have 
enabled me to sink the " Serea," I would not have shrunk from 
my duty. Yet it afforded me infinite satisfaction to see the 
chase escape, for my heart smote me at taking arms against men 
who had probably broken bread at my board. 



414 



CAPTAIN CANOT I Oil 



CHAPTER LXVIII. 

Next day we recovered our ancliorage opposite Cape Mount, aud 
wound our way eight or ten miles up the river to the town of 
Toso, which was honored with the residence of King Fana- 
Toro. It did not require long to satisfy his majesty of the bene- 
fits to he derived from my plan. The news of the destruction 
of Gallinas, and of tlie voluntary surrender of my quarters at 
New Sestros, had spread like wildfire along the coast ; so that 
when the African princes began to understand they were no 
longer to profit by unlawful traffic, they were willing enough not 
to lose all their ancient avails, by compromising for a le^al com- 
merce, under the sanction of national flags. I explained my pro- 
jects to Fana-Toro in the fullest manner, offering him the most 
liberal terms. My propositions were forcibly supported by Prince 
Gray ; and a cession of the Mount and its neighboring territory 
was finally made, under a stipulation th'at the purchase-money 
should be paid in presence of the negro's council, and the surren- 
der of title witnessed by the Termagant's officers.^ 

^ As the document granting this beautiful headland and valuable trad- 
ing post is of some interest, I have added a copy of the instrument : 

"KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS, that I, Fana-Toro, King 
of Cape Mount and its rivers, in the presence, and with the full consent 
and approbation of my principal chiefs in council assembled, in considera- 



TWENTY YE.MIS OF AN. AFllICAN SLAVER. 415 

As soon as the contract was fully signed, sealed, and de- 
livered, making Mr. lledman and myself proprietors, in fee-sim- 
ple, of this beautiful region, I hastened in company with my 

tion of a nuitiial friendship existing between Georgi: CL.wiaiiNG Hedman, 
TiJEoijoRE Caxot & Co., British subjeet:), an<l myself, the particulars wliere- 
of are under-written, do, for myself, my lieirs and successors, give jind grant 
unto the said George Clavering Redman, Tli(s)dore Canot & Co., their heirs 
and assigns in perpetuity, all land under the name of Capk Mount, extend- 
ing, on the south and east sides, to Lilflc Cape Jltuuut, and on the north- 
west side to Sttgarle River, comprised with the i.slandi-^, lakes, brooks, for- 
ests, trees, waters, mines, minerals, rights, membeis, and appurtenances 
thereto belonging or appertaining, anc all wild and tame beasts and 
other animals thereon; TO HAVE AND TO HOLD the said cape, rivers, 
islands, with both sides of the river and other jtremises hereby granted 
unto the said G. Clavering Redmax, T. Canot <k Co., their heirs and as- 
signs for ever, subject to the authority and dominion of Iliai Majesty tue 
Queen of Gre.\t Brhain, her heii s and successors. 

"And I, also, give and grant unto the said G. C, Redman, T. Canot &, 
Co., the sole and exclusive rights of traffic with my Nation and People, and 
with all those tributary to me, and I hereby engage to afford my assistance 
and protection to the said party, and to all persons who ma3' settle on the 
said cape, rivers, islands, lakes, and both sides of the river, by iheir con- 
sent, wishijig peace and friendship between my nation and all persons be- 
longing to the said firm. 

" Given under my hand and seal, at the town of Fanama, this 

twenty-third day of P'ebruar}', one thousand eight hundred 

and forty-one. 

liis 
"Kino X Fan.\-Toro. (L. S.) 
mark, 

" Rrince X Gray. (L. S.) 

mark. 
'• Witnesses, 



"IIy. Fkowi) Seagra:m, R. X. ) .. jj 

"Geo. D. Xoble, Clerk in Charge, f ; .7 7^, 
"Thos. Crawford, Surgeon. ) '^ 



Majesty s 
nnariaut." 



rge( 

I paid King Fana-Toro and his chiefs in council the following merchan- 
dise in exchange for his territory : six casks of rum ; twenty muskets ; 
twenty quarter-kegs powder; twenty pounds tobacco; twenty pieces 
white cottons ; thirty pieces blue cottons ; twentv Iron bars ; twenty cut- 
lasses ; twenty wash-basins; and twenty each of several other articles of 
trifling value. 



416 CAPTAIN' canot; or, 

naval friends to explore my little principality for a suitable town- 
site. We launched our boat on the waters of the noble lake 
Plitzogee at Toso,and after steering north-eastwardlyfor two hours 
under the pilotage of Prince Gray, entered a winding creek and 
penetrated its thickets of mangrove and palm, till the savage 
landed us on decayed steps and pavement made of English 
hrick. At a short distance through the underwood, our con- 
ductor pointed out a denuded space which had once served as 
the foundation of an English slave factory ; and when my com- 
panions hesitated to believe the prince's dishonorable charge on 
their nation, the negro confirmed it by pointing out, deeply carved 
in the bark of a neighboring tree, the name of : — 

T. WILLIAMS, 
1804. 

I took the liberty to compliment Seagram and the surgeon on 
the result of our exploration ; and, after a hearty laugh at the 
denouement of the prince's search for a laivfid homestead, we 
plunged still deeper in the forest, but returned without finding a 
location to ni}' taste. Next day we recommenced our explora- 
tion by land, and, in order to obtain a comprehensive view of my 
dominion, as far as the eye would reach, I proposed an ascent of 
the promontory of the Cape which lifts its head quite twelve hun- 
dred feet above the sea. A toilsome walk of hours brought us 
to the summit, but so dense was the foliage and so lofty the mag- 
nificent trees, that, even by climbing the tallest, my scope of 
vision was hardly increased. As we descended the slopes, how- 
ever, towards the strait between the sea and lake, I suddenly 
came upon a rich, spacious level, flanked by a large brook of 
delicious water, and deciding instantly that it was an admirable 
spot for intercourse with the ocean as well as interior, I resolved 
that it should be the site of my future home. A tar was 
at hand to climb the loftiest palm, to strip its bushy head, and 
hoist the union-jack. Before sundown, I had taken solemn terri- 
torial possession, and baptized the future town " New Florence," 
in honor of my Italian birthplace. 






TWExXTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 417 

My next effort was to procure laborers, for whom I invoked 
the aid of Fana-Toro and the neighboring chiefs. During two 
days, forty negroes, whom I hired for their food and a jpcr diem 
of twenty cents, wrought faithfully under my direction; but the 
constant task of felling trees, digging roots, and clearing ground, 
was so unusual for savages, that the entire gang, with the excep- 
tion of a dozen, took their pay in rum and tobacco and quitted me. 
A couple of days more, devoted to such endurance, drove off the 
remaining twelve, so that on the fifth day of my philanthropic en- 
terprise I was left in my solitary hut with a single attendant. I 
had, alas ! undertaken a task altogether unsuited to people whose 
idea of earthly happiness and duty is divided between palm-oil, 
concubinage, and sunshine! 

I found it idle to remonstrate with the king about the indo- 
lence of his subjects. Fana-Toro entertained very nearly the 
same opinion as his slaves. He declared, — and perhaps very 
sensibly, — that white men were fools to work from sunrise to sun- 
set every day of their lives ; nor could he comprehend how ne- 
groes were expected to follow their example ; nay, it was not the 
" fashion of Africa ; " and, least of all, could his majesty conceive 
how a man possessed of so much merchandise and property, would 
voluntarily undergo the toils I was preparing for the future ! 

The king's censure and surprise were not encouraging ; yet 
I had so long endured the natural indolence of negrodom, that I 
hardly expected either a different reply or influential support from 
his majesty. Nevertheless, I was not disheartened. I remem- 
bered the old school-boy maxim, non m sed scepe cadendo^ 
and determined to effect by degrees what I could not achieve at a 
bound. For a while I tried the effect of higher wages ; but an 
increase of rum, tobacco, and coin, could not string the nerves or 
cord the muscles of Africa. Four men's labor was not equiva- 
lent to one day's work in Europe or America. The negro's phi- 
losophy was both natural and self-evident : — why should he work 
for pay when he could live without it ? — labor coidd not give 
him, more sunshine^ palm-oil, or wives ; andy as for grog and 
tobacco, they might be had without the infringement of habits 
which had almost the sacredness of religious institutions. 
1§* 



418 

With such slender prospects of prosperity at New Florence, I 
left a man in charge of my hut, and directing him to get on as well 
as he could, I visited Monrovia, to look after the merchandise 
that had been saved from the wreck of New Sestros. 



TWE.NTV I'LiAKS OF AN AFPaCAN r^LAVEP.. 419 



CHAPTEK LXIX. 

I MIGHT fairly be accused of ingratitude if I passed without no- 
tice the Colony of Liberia and its capital, whose hospitable doors 
were opened widely to receive an exile, when the barbarians of 
New Sestros drove me from that settlement. 

It is not my intention to tire the reader with an account of 
Liberia, for I presume that few are unacquainted with the thriv- 
ing condition of those philanthropic lodgments, which hem the 
western coast of Africa for near eight hundred miles. 

In my former visits to Monrovia, I had been regarded as a 
dangerous intruder, who was to be kept for ever under the vigilant 
eyes of government officials. When my character as an establish- 
ed slaver was clearly ascertained, the port was interdicted to my 
vessels, and my appearance in the town itself prohibited. Now, 
however, when I came as a fugitive from violence, and with the 
acknowledged relin(|uishmeut of my ancient traffic, every hand 
was extended in friendship and commiseration. The governor 
and council allowed the landing of my rescued slave-goods on 
deposit, while the only two servants who continued faithful were 
secured to me as apprentices by the court. Scarcely more than 
two months ago. the people of this quiet village were disturbed 
from sleep by the roll of drums beating for recruits to march 
against '' the slaver Canot ; " to-day I dine with the chief of the 
colony and am welcomed as a brother ! This is another of those 
remarkable vicissitudes that abound in this work, and which the 
critics, in all likelihood, may consider too often repeated. To 



420 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

my mind, however, it is only another illustration of the probabili- 
ty of the odd and the strangeness of truth I 

I had no difficulty in finding all sorts of workmen in Monrovia, 
for the colonists brought with them all the mechanical ingenuity 
and thrift that characterize the American people. In four months, 
with the assistance of a few carpenters, sawyers and blacksmiths, 
I built a charming little craft of twenty-five tons, which, in honor 
of my British protector, I dubbed the " Termagant." I notice 
the construction of this vessel, merely to show that the colony 
and its people were long ago capable of producing every thing that 
may be required by a commercial state in the tropics. When my 
cutter touched the water, she was indebted to foreign countries 
for nothing but her copper, chains and sails, every thing else being 
the product of Africa and colonial labor. Had nature bestowed 
a better harbor on the Mesurado river, and afforded a safer en- 
trance for large vessels, Monrovia would now be second only to 
Sierra Leone. Following the beautiful border of the Saint Paul's, 
a few miles from Monrovia the eye rests on extensive plains teem- 
ing with luxurious vegetation. The amplest proof has been given 
of the soil's fertility in the production of coffee, sugar, cotton and 
rice. I have frequently seen cane fourteen feet high, and as thick 
as any I ever met with in the Indies. Coffee trees grow much 
larger than on this side of the Atlantic ; single trees often yield- 
ing sixteen pounds, which is about seven more than the average 
product in the West Indies.* Throughout the entire jurisdiction 

* I wish to confirm and fortify this statement in regard to the value of 
coffee culture in the colonies, by the observation of Dr. J. W. Lugenbeel, 
late colonial physician and United States agent in Liberia. The Doctor 
gave " particular attention to observations and investigations respecting 
coffee culture in Liberia." "I have frequently seen," he says, "isolated 
trees growing in different parts of Liberia, which yielded from ten to twen- 
ty pounds of clean dry coffee at one picking ; and, however incredible it 
may appear, it is a fact that one tree in Monrovia yielded four and a half 
bushels of coffee in the hull, at one time, which, when dried and shelled, 
weighed thirty -one pounds. This is the largest quantity I ever heard of, 
and the largest tree I ever saw, being upwards of twenty feet high and of 
proportionate dimensions." 

The Doctor is of opinion, however, that as the coffee tree begins to bear 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 421 

between Cape Mount and Cape Palmas, to the St. Andrew's, the 
soil is equally prolific. Oranges, lemons, cocoanuts, pine-apples, 
mangoes, plums, granadillas, sour and sweet sop, plantains, bana- 
nas, guyavas, tamarinds, ginger, sweet potatoes, yams, cassava, 
and corn, are found in abundance; while the industry of Ameri- 
can settlers has lately added the bread-fruit, rose apple, patanga, 
cantelope, water-melon, aguacate and mulberry. Garden culture 
produces every thing that may be desired at the most luxurious 
table. 

Much has been said of the "pestilential climate of Africa," 
and the certain doom of those who venture within the spell of its 
miasma. I dare not deny that the coast is scourged by danger- 
ous maladies, and that nearly all who take up their abode in the 
colonies are obliged to undergo the ordeal of a fever which assails 
them with more or less virulence, according to the health, consti- 
tution, or condition of the patient. Yet I think, if the coloniza- 
tion records are read with a candid spirit, they will satisfy unpre- 
judiced persons that the mortality of emigrants has diminished near- 
ly one half, in consequence of the sanitary care exercised by the colo- 
nial authorities during the period of acclimation. The colonies 
are now amply supplied with lodgings for new comers, where every 
thing demanded for comfort, cure, or alleviation, is at hand in 
abundance. Colored physicians, who studied their art in America, 
have acquainted themselves with the local distempers, and proved 
their skill by successful practice. Nor is there now the difficulty 
or expense which, twelve years ago, before the destruction of the 
neighboring slave marts, made it almost impossible to furnish 
convalescents with that delicate nourishment which was needed 
to re-establish their vigor. 



It may not be amiss if I venture to hope that these colonial 
experiments, which have been fostered for the civilization of Africa 

at the end of its fourth year, an average yield at the end of the sixth year 
may be calculated on of at least four pounds. Three hundred trees may 
be planted on an acre, giving each twelve feet, and in six years the culture 
will become profitable as well as easy. 



422 CAPTAIN cajmot; ok, 

as well as for the amelioration of the American negro's lot, will 
continue to receive the support of all good men. Some persons 
assert that the race is incapable of self-government beyond the 
tribal state, and then only through fear; while others allege, that 
no matter what care may be bestowed on African intellect, it is 
unable to produce or sustain the highest results of modern civi- 
lization. It would not be proper for any one to speak oracularly 
on this mooted point; yet, in justice to the negroes who never left 
their forests, as well as to those who have imbibed, for more than 
a generation, the civilization of Europe or America, I may unhesi- 
tatingly say, that* the colonial trial has thus far been highly prom- 
ising. I have often been present at difficult councils and " pa/a- 
vcTs" among the wild tribes, when c{uestions arose which demand- 
ed a calm and skilful judgment, and in almost every instance, the 
decision was characterized by remarkable good sense and ecpity. 
In most of the colonies the men who are intrusted with local con- 
trol, a few years since were either slaves in America, or employed 
in menial tasks which it was almost hopeless they could escape. 
Liberia, at present, may boast of several individuals, who, but for 
their caste, might adorn society ; while the}'" who have personally 
known Roberts, Lewis, Benedict, J. B. McGrill, Teage, Benson of 
Grand Bassa, and Dr. McGill of Cape Palmas, can bear testimony 
that nature has endowed numbers of the colored race with the best 
Cjualities of humanity. 

Nevertheless, the prosperity, endurance and influence of the 
colonies, are still problems. I am anxious to see the second gen- 
eration of the colonists in Africa. I wish to know what will be 
the force and development of the negro mind on its native soil, — 
civilized, but cut off from all instruction, influence, or association 
with the white mind. I desire to understand, precisely, whether 
the negro's faculties are original or imitative, and consequently, 
whether he can stand alone in absolute independence, or is only 
respectable when reflecting a civilization that is cast on him by 
others. 

If the descendants of the present colonists, increased by an 
immense immigration of all classes and qualities during the next 
twenty -five years, shall sustain the young nation with that in- 



TWENTi i'l^AKS OF AN AFRICAN' SLAVER. 423 

dustrial eijergy and political dignity that mark its population in 
our day, we shall hail the realized fact with infinite delight. 
AYe will rejoice, not only because the emancipated negro may 
thenceforth possess a realm wherein his rights shall be sacred, 
but because' the civilization with which the colonies must border 
the African continent, will, year by year, sink deeper and deeper 
into the heart of the interior, till barbarism and Islamism will 
fade before the light of Christianity. 

But the test and trial have yet to come. The colonist of our 
time is an exotic under glass, — full, as yet, of sap and stamina 
drawn from his native America, but nursed with care and exhi- 
bited as the efflorescence of modern philanthropy. Let us hope 
that this wholesome guardianship will not be too soon or suddenly 
withdrawn by the parent societies ; but that, while the state of 
pupilage shall not be continued till the immigrants and their 
children are emasculated by lengthened dependence, it will be 
upheld until the republic shall exhibit such signs of manhood as 
cannot deceive the least hopeful. 



424 c.vrx-AiN oanot; or, 



CHAPTER LXX. 

I RETURNED to Cape Mount from the colony with several Ameri- 
can mechanics and a fresh assortment of merchandise for traffic 
with the natives. During my absence, the agent I left in charge 
had contrived, with great labor, to clear a large space in the 
forest for my projected establishment, so that with the aid of my 
Americans, I was soon enabled to give the finishing touch to 
New-Florence While the buildings were erecting, I induced a 
number of natives, by force of double pay and the authority of 
their chiefs, to form and cultivate a garden, comprising the 
luxuries of Europe and America as well as of the tropics, which, 
in after days, secured the admiration of many a naval com- 
mander. 

As soon as my dwelling was nicely completed, I removed my 
furniture from the colony ; and, still continuing to drum through 
the country for business with the Africans, I despatched my 
Kroomen and pilots on board of every cruiser that appeared in the 
offing, to supply them with provisions and refreshments. 

An event took place about this time which may illustrate the 
manner in which a branch of the slave trade is carried on along 
the coast. Her Britannic Majesty's sloop of war L was 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 425 

in the neighborhood, and landed three of her officers at my 
quarters to spend a day or two in hunting the wild boars with 
which the adjacent country was stocked. But the rain poured 
down in such torrents, that, instead of a hunt, I proposed a 
dinner to my jovial visitors. Soon after our soup had been de- 
spatched on the piazza, there was a rush of natives into the yard, 
and I was informed that one of our Bush chiefs had brought in a 
noted gambler, whom he threatened either to sell or kill. 

It struck me instantly that this would be a good opportunity 
to give my British friends a sight of native character, at the 
same time that they might be enabled, if so disposed, to do a 
generous action. Accordingly, I directed my servant to bring 
the Bushman and gambler before us ; and as the naked victim, 
with a rope round his neck, was dragged by the savage to our 
table, I perceived that it was Soma, who had formerly been in 
my service on the coast. The vagabond was an excellent inter- 
preter and connected with the king, but I had been obliged to dis- 
charge him in consequence of his dissipated habits, and especially 
for having gambled away his youngest sister, whose release from 
Gallinas I had been instrumental in securing. 

'• I have brouglit Soma to your store-keeper," said the Bush- 
man, " and I want him to buy the varlet. Soma has been half 
the day gambling with me. First of all he lost his gun, then his 
cap, then his cloth, then his right leg, then his left, then his arms, 
and, last of all, his head. I have given his friends a chance to 
redeem the dog, but as they had bought him half a dozen times 
already, there's not a man in the town that will touch him. 
Soma never pays his debts ; and now, Don Teodore, I have 
brought him here, and li you don't buy him, I'll take him to the 
water-side and cut his throat ! " 

There, — with an imploring countenance, bare as he came into 
the world, a choking cord round his throat, and with pinioned 
arms, — stood the trembling gambler, as I glanced in vain from 
the Bushman to the officers, in expectation of his release by those 
philanthropists ! As Soma spoke English, I told him in our 
language, that I had no pity for his fate, and that he must take 
the chances he had invoked. Twenty dollars would have saved 



426 CAPTAIN CAXOT ', OH, 

liis life, and yet .c British did not melt ! '' Take him off," 
said I sternly, to the Bushman, " and use him as you choose ! " — 
but at the same moment, a wink to my interpreter suiB&ced, and 
the Bushman retunlcv., ^ the forest with tobacco and rum, while 
Soma was saved fron Maughter, It is by no means improbable 
that the gambler is now playing moiitc on some plantation in 
Cuba. 



I continued my labors at New-Florence without intermission 
for several months, but when I cast up my account, I found the 
wages and cost of building so enormous, that my finances would 
soon be exhausted. Accordingly, by the, advice of my friend 
Seagram, as well as of Cantain Tucker, who commanded on the 
station, I petitioned Lord Stanley to grunt me one hundred re- 
captured x\fricans to till my grounds and learn the rudiments of 
agricultural industry. Some time elapsed before an answer was 
sent, but when it camC; my prospects were dashed to the earth. 

" GOVERXMEXT UoUSE, SlERP.A LeOXE, 

28/A October, 1843. 

" Sill : 

I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 
August last, inclosing the copy of a petition, the original of 
which you had transmitted to the acting Lieutenant Governor 
Ferguson, for the purpose of having it forwarded to her Majesty's 
Government. 

" In reply, I have to acfjuaint you, that by the receipt of a 
despatch from the Bt. Hon. Lord Stanley, Secretary of State for 
the Colonies, bearing date 8th April 1842, his Lordship states 
that he cannot sanction a compliance with your request to have a 
number of liberated Africans, as apprentices, in tilling your 
grounds ; and further, that he could not recognize the purchase 
of Cape Mount, as placing that district under the protection and 
sovereignty of the British crown. 

" I beg to add, that I am glad to be informed by Captain 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 427 

Oake tliat the vessel, alluded to in your letter, which 'you had 
been unable to despatch for want of a license, had obtained one for 
that purpose from the governor of Monrovia." 

" I am, sir, your obedient servant, 

"G. Mac Donald, 
" To Mr. Theodore Caxot." " Governor'^ 

The picture that had been painted by my imagination v;itli so 
many bright scenes and philanthropic hopes, fell as I finished this 
epistle. It not only clouded my future prospects of lawful com- 
merce, but broke ofi", at once, the correspondence with my generous 
friend Claveriug in London. As I dropped the missive on the 
table, I ordered the palm tree on which I had first unfurled the 
British flag to be cut down ; and next day, on a tall pole, in full 
view of the harbor, I hoisted a tri-colored banner, adorned by a 
central star, vrhich I caused to be .baptized, in presence of 
Faua-Toro, with a salvo of twenty guns. 

I am not naturally of a mischievous or revcngful temper, bat 
T can scarcely find language to express the mortification 1 expe- 
rienced when Lord Stanley thwarted my honest intentions, by 
his refusal to protect the purchase whereon I had firmly resolved 
to be an ally and friend, in concentrating a lawful commerce. I 
was especially disgusted by this mistrust, or mistake, after the 
fiattering assurances with which my design had, from the first, 
been cherished by the British oflBcers on the station. I may con- 
fess tliat, for a moment, I almost repented the confidence I had 
reposed in the British lion, and was at a loss whetlier to abandon 
Cape Mount and return to my former trafiic, or to till the ground 
and play waterman to the fleet. 

After proper deliberation, however, I resolved to take the 
plough for my device ; and before Christmas, I had already 
ordered from England a large supply of agricultural implements 
and of every thing requisite for elaborate husbandry. After this, 
I purchased forty youths to be employed on a coffee plantation, 
and to drag my ploughs till I obtained animals to replace them. 
In a short time I had abundance of land cleared, and an over- 
seer's house erected for an old barracoonier, who, I am grieved 



428 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

to say, turned out but a sorry farmer. He had no idea of syste- 
matic labor or discipline save by the lash, so that in a month, four 
of his gang were on the sick list, and five had deserted. I re- 
placed the Spaniard by an American colored man, who, in turn, 
made too free with my people and neglected the plantations. 
My own knowledge of agriculture was so limited, that unless I 
fortified every enterprise by constant reference to books, I was 
unable to direct my hands with skill; and, accordingly, with all 
these mishaps to my commerce and tillage, I became satisfied 
that it was easier to plough the ocean than the land. 

Still I was not disheartened. My trade, on a large scale, 
with the interior, and my agriculture had both failed ; yet T re- 
solved to try the eflPect of traffic in a humble way, combined with 
such mechanical pursuits as would be profitable on the coast. 
Accordingly, I divided a gang of forty well drilled negroes into 
two sections, retaining the least intelligent on the farm, while the 
brighter youths were brought to the landing. Here I laid out 
a shipyard, blacksmith's shop, and sawpit, placing at the head of 
each, a Monrovian colonist to instruct my slaves. In the mean 
time the neighboring natives, as well as the people some distance 
in the interior, were apprised by my runners of the new factory 
I was forming at Cape Mount. 

By the return of the dry season our establishment gave signs 
of renewed vitality. Within the fences of New Florence there 
were already twenty-five buildings and a population of one hun- 
dred, and nothing was wanting but a stock of cattle, which I soon 
procured from the Kroo country. 

Thus, for a long time all things went on satisfactorily, not only 
with the natives, but with foreign traders and cruisers, till a na- 
tive war embarrassed my enterprise, and brought me in contact 
with the enemies of King Fana-Toro, of whose realm and deport* 
ment I must ^ive some account. 



TWENTY" YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 429 



CHAPTER LXXI. 

The Africans who cluster about the bold headland of Cape 
Mount, — which, in fair weather, greets the mariner full thirty 
miles at sea, — belong to the Vey tribe, and are in no way infe- 
rior to the best classes of natives along the coast. Forty or fifty 
families constitute *• a town," the government of which is gene- 
rally in the hands of the oldest man, who administers justice by 
a " palaver " held in public, wherein the seniors of the settle- 
ment are alone consulted. These villages subject themselves vo- 
luntarily to the protectorate of larger towns, whose chief arbi- 
trates as sovereign without appeal in all disputes among towns 
under his wardship ; yet, as his judgments are not always pleas- 
ing, the dissatisfied desert their huts, and, emigrating to another 
jurisdiction, build their village anew within its limits. 

The Veys of both sexes are well built, erect, and somewhat 
stately. Their faith differs but little -from that prevalent among 
the Soosoos of the Rio Pongo. They believe in a superior power 
that may be successfully invoked through gree-grees and fetiches^ 
but which is generally obstinate or mischievous. It is their idea 
that the good are rewarded after death by transformation into 
some favorite animal ; yet their entire creed is not subject to any 



430 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

definite description, for they blend the absurdities of Mahometan- 
ism with those of paganism, and mellow the whole by an acknow- 
ledgment of a supremo deity. 

The Vey, like other nncontaminated Ethiopians, is brought 
up in savage neglect by his parents, crawling in perfect naked- 
ness about the villages, till imitation teaches him the use of rai- 
ment, which, in all likelihood, he first of all obtains by theft. 
There is no difference between the sexes during their early 
years. A sense of shame or modesty seems altogether un- 
known or disregarded; nor is it unusual to find ten or a dozen 
of both genders huddled promiscuously beneath a roof wliose 
walls are not more than fifteen feet si;[uare. 

True to his nature, a Vey bushman rises in the morning to 
swallow his rice and cassava, and crawls back to his mat which is 
invariably placed in the sunshine, where he simmers till noon- 
tide, when another wife serves him with a second meal. The re- 
mainder of daylight is passed either in gossip or a second siesta^ 
till, at sundown, his other wives wash his body, furnish a third 
meal, and stretch his wearied limbs before a blazing fire to re- 
fresh for the toils of the succeeding day. In fact, the slaves of a 
household, together with its females, form the entire working 
class of Africa, and in order to indoctrinate the gentler sex in its 
future toils and duties, there seems to be a sort of national semi- 
nary which is known as the Gree-gree-bush. 

The Gree-gree-bush is a secluded spot or grove of consider- 
able extent in the forest, apart from dwellings and cultivated land 
thouoh adjacent to villages, which is considered as consecrated 
ground and forbidden to the approach of men. The establishment 
within this precinct consists of a few houses, with an extensive 
area for exercise. It is governed chiefly by an old woman of 
superior skill and knowledge, to whose charge the girls of a vil- 
la«-e are intrusted as soon as they reach the age of ten or twelve. 
There are various opinions of tlie use and value of this institu- 
tion in the primitive polity of Africa. By some writers it is 
treated as a religious cloister for the protection of female chas- 
tity, while by others it is regarded as a school of licentiousness. 
From my own examination of the establislunent. I am quite sat- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN' AFRICAN SLAVER. 431 

isfied that a line drawn between these extremes w^ill, most pro- 
bably, characterize the " bush " with accuracy, and that what Avas 
originally a conservative seclusion, has degenerated greatly under 
the lust of tropical passions. 

As the procession of novices who are about to enter the 
grove approaches the sanctuary, music and dancing are heard 
and seen on every side. As soon as the maidens are received, 
they arc token ])y the gree-gree women to a neighboring stream, 
where they are washed, and undergo an operation wliich is re- 
garded as a sort of circumcision. Anointed from head to foot 
with palm oil, they are next reconducted to their home in the 
gree-gree bush. Here, under strict watch, they are maintained 
by their relatives or those who are in treaty for them as wives, 
until they reach the age of puberty. At this epoch the impor- 
tant fact is announced by the gree-gree woman to the purchaser 
or future husband, who, it is expected, will soon prepare to 
take her from the retreat. Whenever his new house is ready for 
the bride's reception, it is proclaimed by the ringing of bells and 
vociferous cries during night. Next day search is made by fe- 
males through the woods, to ascertain whether intruders are lurk- 
ing about, but when the path is ascertained to be clear, the girl 
is forthwith borne to a rivulet, where she is washed, anointed, 
and clad in her best attire. From thence she is borne, amid 
singing, drumming, shouting, and firing, in the arms of her female 
attendants, till her unsoiled feet arc deposited on the husband's 
fioor.^ 

I believe this institution exists throughout a large portion of 
Africa, and such is the desire to place females within the bush, 
that poor parents who cannot pay the initiatory fee, raise sub- 
scriptions among their friends to obtain the requisite slave whose 
gift entitles their child to admission. Sometimes, it is said, that 
this human ticLet is stolen to eifect the desired purpose, and 
that no native power can recover the lost slave when once within 
tlie sacred precincts. 

The grec-gree-bush is not only a resort of the virgin, but of 

^Soo Marylanrl Colonization Journo.1, vol. i., n. s., p. 212. 



432 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

the wife, in those seasons when approaching maternity indicates 
need of repose and care. In a few hours, the robust mother 
issues with her new-born child, and after a plunge into the near- 
est brook, returns to the domestic drudgery which I have 
already described. 



In the time of Fana-Toro, Toso was the royal residence where 
his majesty played sovereign and protector over six towns and 
fifteen villages. His government was generallj^ considered patri- 
archal. When I bought Cape Mount, the king numbered 
"seventy-seven rains," equivalent to so many years; — he was 
small, wiry, meagre, erect, and proud of the respect he universally 
commanded. His youth was notorious among the tribes for in- 
trepidity, and I found that he retained towards enemies a bitter 
resentment that often led to the commission of atrocious cruelties. 

It was not long after my instalment at the Cape, that I acci- 
dentally witnessed the ferocity of this chief. Some trifling 
" country afl"air " caused me to visit the king ; but upon landing at 
Toso I was told he was abroad. The manner of my informant, 
however, satisfied me that the message was untrue ; and accord- 
ingly, with the usual confidence of a " white man " in x\frica, I 
searched his premises till I encountered him in the " palaver- 
house." The large inclosure was crammed with a mob of sav- 
ages, all in perfect silence around the king, who, in an infuriate 
manner, with a bloody knife in his hand, and a foot on the dead 
body of a negro, was addressing the carcass. By his side stood 
a pot of hissing oil, in which the heart of his enemy was frying ! 

My sudden and, perhaps-, improper entrance, seemed to exas- 
perate the infidel, who,, calling me to his side, knelt on the 
corpse, and digging it repeatedly with his knife, exclaimed with 
trembling passion, that it was his bitterest and oldest foe's ! For 
twenty years he had butchered his people, sold his subjects, vio- 
lated his daughters, slain his sons, and burnt his towns; — and 
with each charge, the savage enforced his assertion by a stab. 

I learned that the slaughtered captive was too brave and 
wary to be taken alive in open conflict. He had been kidnapped 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 433 

by treachery, and as he could not be forced to walk to Toso, the 
king's trappers had cooped him in a huge basket, which they 
bore on their shoulders to the Cape. No sooner was the brute in 
his captor's presence, than he broke a silence of three days by 
imprecations on Fana-Toro. In a short space, his fate was de- 
cided in the scene I had witnessed, while his body was imme- 
diately burnt to prevent it from taking the form of some fero- 
cious beast which might vex the remaining years of his royal ex- 
ecutioner ! 

This was the only instance of Fana-Toro's barbarity that 
came under my notice, and in its perpetration he merely follow- 
ed the example of his ancestors in obedience to African ferocity. 
Yet. of his intrepidity and nobler endurance, I will relate an 
anecdote which was told me by reliable persons. Some twenty 
years before my arrival at the Cape, large bands of mercenary 
bushmen had joined his enemies along the beach, and after deso- 
lating his territory, sat down to beleaguer the stockade of Toso. 
For many a day thirst and hunger were quietly endured under 
the resolute command of the king, but at length, when their 
pangs became unendurable, and the people demanded a surren- 
der, Fana-Toro strode into the " palaver house," commanding a 
sortie with his famished madmen. The warriors protested 
against the idea, for their ammunition was exhausted. Then 
arose a wild shout for the king's deposition and the election of a 
chief to succeed him. A candidate was instantly found and in- 
stalled ; but no sooner had he been chosen, than Fana-Toro,- — 
daring the new prince to prove a power of endurance equal to 
his own, — plunged his finger in a bowl of boiling oil, and held it 
over the fire, without moving a muscle, till the flesh was crisped 
to the bone. 

It is hardly necessary to say that the sovereign was at once 
restored to his rights, or that, availing himself of the fresh enthu- 
siasm, he rushed upon his besiegers, broke their lines, routed the 
mercenaries, and compelled his rival to sue for peace. Until 
the day of his death, that mutilated hand was the boast of hi^ 
people, 

19 



434 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

The Vey people mark with some ceremony the extremes of 
human existence — birth and death. Both events are honored 
with feasting, drinking, dancing, and firing ; and the descendants 
of the dead sometimes impoverish, and even ruin themselves, to 
inter a venerable parent with pomp. 

Prince Gray, the son of Fana-Toro, whom I have already 
mentioned, died during my occupation of Cape Mount. I was at 
Mesurado when the event happened, but, as soon as I heard it, 
I resolved to unite with his relations in the last rites to his 
memory. Gray was not only a good negro and kind neighbor, 
but, as my fast friend in " country matters," his death was a 
personal calamity. 

The breath was hardly out of the prince's body, when his 
sons, who owned but little property and had no slaves for sale, 
hastened to my agent, and pledged their town of Fanama for 
means to defray his funeral. In the mean time, the corpse, 
swathed in twenty large country sheets, and wrapped in twenty 
pieces of variegated calico, was laid out in a hut, where it 
was constantly watched and smoked by three of the favorite 
widows. 

After two months devotion to moaning and seasoning^ notice 
was sent forty miles round the country, summoning the tribes 
to the final ceremony. On the appointed day the corpse was 
brought from the hut, a perfect mass of bacon. As the pro- 
cession moved towards the palaver-house, the prince's twenty 
wives — almost entirely denuded, their heads shaved, and their 
bodies smeared with dust — were seen following his remains. 
The eldest spouse appeared covered with self-inflicted bruises, 
burns, and gashes — all indications of sorrow and future useless- 
ness. 

The crowd reached the apartment, singing the praises of the 
defunct in chorus, when the body was laid on a new mat, covered 
with his war shirt, while the parched lump that indicated his 
head was covered with the remains of a fur hat. All the amu- 
lets, charms, gree-grees, fetiches and flummery of the prince were 
duly bestowed at his sides. While these arrangements were 






TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 435 

making within, his sons stood beneath an adjoining verandah, 
to receive the condolences of the invited guests, who, according 
to custom, made their bows and deposited a tribute of rice, 
palm-oil, palm-wine, or other luxuries, to help out the merry- 
making. 

When I heard of the prince's death at Monrovia, I resolved 
not to return without a testimonial of respect for my ally, and 
ordered an enormous cojffin to be prepared without delay. In 
due time the huge chest was made ready, covered with blue cot- 
ton, studded with brass nails, and adorned with all the gilded 
ornaments I could find in Monrovia. Besides this splendid 
sarcophagus, my craft from the colony was ballasted with four 
bullocks and several barrels of rum, as a contribution to the 
funeral. 

I had timed my arrival at Fanama, so as to reach the landing 
about ten o'clock on the morning of burial ; and, after a salute 
from my brazen guns, I landed the bullocks, liquor, and coffin, 
and marched toward the princely gates. 

The unexpected appearance of the white friend of their 
father, lord, and husband, was greeted by the family with a loud 
wail, and, as a mark of respect, I was instantly lifted in the arms 
of the weeping women, and deposited on the mat beside the 
corpse. Here I rested, amid cries and lamentations, till near 
noon, when the bullocks were slaughtered, and their blood ofi'ered 
in wash-bowls to the dead. As soon as this was over, the shape- 
less mass was stowed in the coffin without regard to position, and 
borne by six carriers to the beach, where it was buried in a clus- 
ter of cotton-woods. 

On our return to Fanama from the grave, the eldest son of 
the deceased was instantly saluted as prince. From this moment 
the festivities began, and, at sundown, the twenty widows re- 
appeared upon the ground, clad in their choicest raiment, their 
shaven skulls anointed with oil, and their limbs loaded with every 
bead and bracelet they could muster. Then began the partition 
of these disconsolate relicts among the royal family. Six were 
selected by the new prince, who divided thirteen among his 



436 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

"brothers and kinsmen, but gave his mother to his father-in-law. 
As soon as the allotment was over, his highness very courteously 
offered me the choice of his six, in return for my gifts ; but as I 
never formed a family tie with natives, I declined the honor, as 
altogether too overwhelming ! 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 437 



CHAPTER LXXII. 

When I was once comfortably installed at my motley establish- 
ment, and, under the management of Colonists, had initiated the 
native workmen into tolerable skill with the adze, saw, sledge- 
hammer and forge, I undertook to build a brig of one hundred 
tons. In six months, people came from far and near to be- 
hold the mechanical marvels of Cape Mount. Meanwhile, my 
plantation went on slowly, while my gardeyi became a matter of 
curiosity to all the intelligent coasters and cruisers, though I 
could never enlighten the natives as to the value of the " foreign 
grass " which I cultivated so diligently. They admired the sym- 
metry of my beds, the richness of my pine-apples, the luxurious 
splendor of my sugar-cane, the abundance of my coffee, and the 
cool fragrance of the arbors with which I adorned the lawn ; but 
they would never admit the use of my exotic vegetables. In 
order to water my premises, I turned the channel of a brook, 
surrounding the garden with a perfect canal ; and, as its sides 
were completely laced with an elaborate wicker-work of willows, 
the aged king and crowds of his followers came to look upon the 
Samsonian task as one of the wonders of Africa. *' What is it," 
exclaimed Fana-Toro, as he beheld the deflected water-course, 
" that a white man cannot do ! " After this, his majesty in- 



438 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

spected all my plants, and shouted again with surprise at the toil 
we underwent to satisfy our appetites. The use or worth of 
flowers^ of which I had a rare and beautiful supply, he could 
never divine ; but his chief amazement was still devoted to our 
daily expenditure of time, strength, and systematic toil, when 
rice and palm-oil would grow wild while we were sleeping ! 



It will be seen from this sketch of my domestic comforts and 
employment, that New Florence prospered in every thing but 
farming and trade. At first it was my hope, that two or three 
years of perseverance would enable me to open a lawful traffic 
with ttie interior ; but I soon discovered that the slave-trade was 
alone thought of by the natives, who only bring the neighbor- 
ing produce to the beach, when their captives are ready for 
a market. I came, moreover, to the conclusion that the interior 
negroes about Cape Mount had no commerce with Eastern tribes 
except for slaves, and consequently that its small river will 
never create marts like those which have direct communications 
by water with the heart of a rich region, and absorb its gold, 
ivory, wax, and hides. To meet these difficulties, I hastened the 
building of my vessel as a coaster. 

About this time, an American craft called the A , ar- 
rived in my neighborhood. She was loaded with tobacco, calicoes, 
rum, and powder. Her captain who was unskilled in coast-trade, 
and ignorant of Spanish, engaged me to act as supercargo for him 
at Gallinas. In a very short period I disposed of his entire 
investment. The trim and saucy rig of this Yankee clipper be- 
witched the heart of a Spanish trader who happened to be among 
the lagunes^ and an offer was forthwith made, through me, for 
her purchase. The bid was accepted at once, and the day before 
Christmas fixed as the period of her delivery, after a trip to the 
Gaboon. 

In contracting to furnish this slaver with a craft and the 
necessary apparatus for his cargo, it would be folly for me to 
deny that I was dipping once more into my ancient trade ; yet, 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 439 

on reflection, I concluded that in covering the vessel for a moment 
with my name, I was no more amenable to rebuke, than the 
respectable merchants of Sierra Leone and elsewhere who passed 
hardly a day without selling, to notorious slavers, such merchan- 
dise as could be used aloiie in slave-wars or slave-trade. It is 
probable that the sophism soothed my conscience at the moment, 
though I could never escape the promise that sealed my agree- 
ment with Lieutenant Seagram. 

The appointed day arrived, and my smoking semaphores 
announced the brigantine's approach to Sugarei, three miles from 
Cape Mount. The same evening the vessel -was surrendered to 
me by the American captain, who landed his crew and handed 
over his flag and papers. As soon as I was in charge, no delay 
was made to prepare for the reception of freight ; and by sunrise 
I resigned her to the Spaniard, who immediately embarked seven 
hundred negroes, and landed them in Cuba in twenty-seven days. 

Till now the British cruisers had made Cape Mount their 
friendly rendezvous, but the noise of this shipment in my neighbor- 
hood, and my refusal to explain or converse on the subject, gave 
umbrage to officers who had never failed to supply themselves 
from my grounds and larder. In fact I was soon marked as an 
enemy of the squadron, while our intercourse dwindled to the 
merest shadow. In the course of a week, the Commander on the 
African station, himself, hove to off" the Cape, and summoning me 
on board, concluded a petulant conversation by remarking that " a 
couple of men like Monsieur Canot would make work enough in 
Africa for the whole British squadron ! " 

I answered tlie compliment with a profound salaam^ and went, 
over the Penelope's side satisfied that my friendship was at an 
end with her Majesty's cruisers. 



The portion of Cape Mount whereon I pitched my tent, had 
been so long depopulated by the early wars against Fana-Toro. 
that the wild beasts re-asserted their original dominion over the 
territory. The forest was full of leopards, wild cats, cavallis or 
wild boars, and ourang-outangs. 



440 CAPTAIN canot; or, 

Very soon after my arrival, a native youth in my employ had 
been severely chastised for misconduct, and in fear of repetition, 
fled to the mount after supplying himself with a basket of cassava. 
As his food was sufficient for a couple of days, we thought he 
might linger in the wood till the roots were exhausted, and then 
return to duty. But three days elapsed without tidings from 
the truant. On the fourth, a diligent search disclosed his corpse 
in the forest, every limb dislocated and covered with bites appa- 
rently made by human teeth. It was the opinion of the natives 
that the child had been killed by ourang-outangs, nor can I doubt 
their correctness, for when I visited the scene of the murder, 
the earth for a large space around, was covered with the foot- 
prints of the beast and scattered with the skins of its favorite 
esculent. 

I was more annoyed, however, at first, by leopards than 
any other animal. My cattle could not stray beyond the fences, 
nor could my laborers venture abroad at any time without 
weapons. I made use of spring traps, pit-falls, and various ex- 
pedients to purify the forest : but such was the cunning or agility 
of our nimble foes that they all escaped. The only mode by 
which I succeeded in freeing the homestead of their ravages, was 
by arming the muzzle of a musket with a slice of meat which 
was attached by a string to the trigger, so that the load and the 
food were discharged into the leopard's mouth at the same moment. 
Thus, by degrees as my settlement grew, the beasts receded from 
the promontory and its adjacent grounds ; and in a couple of 
years, the herds were able to roam where they pleased without 
danger. 

Cape Mount had long been deserted by elephants, but about 
forty miles from my dwelling, on the upper forests of the lake, 
the noble animal might still be hunted ; and whenever the natives 
were fortunate enough to '* bag'' a specimen, I was sure to be 
remembered in its division. If the prize proved a male, I re- 
ceived the feet and trunk, but if it turned out of the gentler 
gender, I was honored with the udder, as a royal honne-bouche. 

In Africa a slaughtered elephant is considered public pro- 
perty by the neighboring villagers, all of whom have a right to 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 441 

carve the giant till his bones are bare. A genuine sportsman 
claims nothing but the ivor}^ and tail, the latter being universally 
a perquisite of the king. Yet I frequently found that associa- 
tions were made among the natives to capture this colossal beast 
and his valuable tusks. Upon these occasions, a club was formed 
on the basis of a whaling cruise, while a single but well known 
hunter was chosen to do execution. One man furnished the 
muskets, another supplied the powder, a third gave the iron bolts 
for balls, a fourth made ready the provender, while a fifth des- 
patched a bearer with the armament. As soon as the outfit was 
completed, the huntsman's ju-ju B^ndfeitiche were invoked for 
good luck, and he departed under an escort of wives and associates. 

An African elephant is smaller, as well as more cunning and 
wild, than the Asiatic. Accordingly, the sportsman is often 
obliged to circumvent his game during several days, for it is said 
that in populous districts, its instincts are so keen as to afi'ord 
warning of the neighborhood of fire-arms, even at extraordinary 
distances. The common and most efi"ectual mode of enticing an 
elephant within reach of a ball, is to strew the forest for several 
miles with pine apples, whose flavor and fragrance infallibly be- 
witch him. By degrees, he tracks and nibbles the fruit from 
slice to slice, till, lured within the hunter's retreat, he is des- 
patched from the branches of a lofty tree by repeated shots at 
his capacious forehead. 

Sometimes it happens that four or five discharges with the 
wretched powder used in Africa fail to slay the beast, who escapes 
from the jungle and dies afar from the encounter. When this 
occurs, an attendant is despatched for a reinforcement, and I have 
seen a whole settlement go forth c?t masse to search for the 
monster that will furnish food for many a day. Sometimes the 
crowd is disappointed, for the wounds have been slight and the 
animal is seen no more. Occasionally, a dying elephant will 
linger a long time, and is only discovered by the buzzards hov- 
ering above his body. Then it is that the bushmen, guided by 
the vultures, haste to the forest, and fall upon the putrid flesh with 
more avidity than birds of prey. Battles have been fought on 
the carcass of an elephant, and many a slave, captured in the 
conflict, has been marched from the body to the beach. 



442 



CHAPTEE LXXIII. 

The war, whose rupture I mentioned at the end of the seventieth 
chapter, spread rapidly throughout our borders ; and absorbing 
the entire attention of the tribe, gave an impulse to slavery 
which had been unwitnessed since my advent to the Cape. 
The reader may readily appreciate the difficulty of my position 
in a country, hemmed in by war which could only be terminated 
by slaughter or slavery. Nor could I remain neutral in New 
Florence, which was situated on the same side of the river as 
Toso, while the enemies of Fana-Toro were in complete posses- 
sion of the opposite bank. 

When I felt that the rupture between the British and myself 
was not only complete but irreparable, I had less difficulty in 
deciding my policy as to the natives ; and, chiefly under the im- 
pulse of self-protection, I resolved to serve the cause of my 
ancient ally. I made whatever fortifications could be easily de- 
fended in case of attack, and, by way of show, mounted some 
cannon on a boat which was paraded about the waters in a formi- 
dable way. My judgment taught me from the outset that it was 
folly to think of joining actively in the conflict; for, while I had 
but three white men in my quarters, and the colonists had re- 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 443 

turned to Monrovia, my New Sestros experience taught me the 
value of bondsmen's backing. 

Numerous engagements and captures took place by both 
parties, so that my doors were daily beseiged by a crowd of 
wretches sent by Fana-Toro to be purchased for shipment. I 
declined the contract with firmness and constancy, but so impor- 
tunate was the chief that I could not resist his desire that a 
Spanish factor might come within my limits with merchandise 
from Gallinas to purchase his prisoners. " He could do nothing 
with his foes," he said, " when in his grasp, but slay or sell them." 
The king's enemy, on the opposite shore, disposed of his captives to 
G-allinas, and obtained supplies of powder and ball, while Fana- 
Toro, who had no vent for his prisoners, would have been destroy- 
ed without my assistance. 

Matters continued in this way for nearly two years, during 
which the British kept up so vigilant a blockade at Cape Mount 
and Gallinas, that the slavers had rarely a chance to enter a ves- 
sel or run a cargo. In time, the barracoons became so gorged, 
that the slavers began to build their own schooners. When the 
A was sold, I managed to retain her long-boat in my ser- 
vice, but such was now the value of every egg-shell on the coast, 
that her owner despatched a carpenter from Gallinas, who, in a 
few days, decked, rigged, and equipped her for sea. She was 
twenty-three feet long, four feet deep, and five feet beam, so that, 
when afloat, her measurement could not have exceeded four tons. 
Yet, on a dark and stormy night, she dropped down the river, 
and floated out to sea through the besieging lines, with thirty- 
three black boys, two sailors, and a navigator. In less than 
forty days she transported the whole of her living freight across 
the Atlantic to Bahia. The negroes almost perished from thirst, 
but the daring example was successfully followed during the suc- 
ceeding year, by skifi"s of similar dimensions. 



I can hardly hope that a narrative of my dull routine, while 
I lingered on the coast, entirely aloof from the slave-trade, would 
either interest or instruct the general reader. The checkered 



444 CAPTAIN CANOT j OR, 

career I have already exposed, has portrayed almost every phase 
of African life. If I am conscious of any thing during my domi- 
cile at Cape Mount, it is of a sincere desire to prosper by lawful 
and honorable thrift. But, between the native wars, the turmoil 
of intruding slavers, and the suspicions of the English, every 
thing went wrong. The friendship of the colonists at Cape 
Palmas and Monrovia was still unabated ; appeals were made 
by missionaries for my influence with the tribes ; coasters called 
on me as usual for supplies ; yet, with all these encouragements 
for exertion, I must confess that my experiment was unsuc- 
cessful. 

Nor was this all, I lost my cutter, laden with stores and 
merchandise for my factory. A vessel, filled with rice and lum- 
ber for my ship-yard, was captured on suspicion, and, though 
sent across the Atlantic for adjudication, was dismissed uncon- 
demned. The sudden death of a British captain from Sierra 
Leone, deprived me of three thousand dollars. Fana-Toro made 
numerous assaults on his foes, all of which failed ; and, to cap 
the climax of my ills, on returning after a brief absence, I found 
that a colonist, whom I had rescued from misery and employed 
in my forge, had fled to the enemy, carrying with him a number 
of my most useful servants. 

It was about this time that circumstances obliged me to make 
a rapid voyage to New York and back to Africa, where the blind 
goddess had another surprise in store for me. During my ab- 
sence, our ancient king was compelled to make a treaty with his 
rival, who, under the name of George Cain, dwelt formerly among 
the American colonists and acquired our language. It was by 
treachery alone that Eana-Toro had been dragooned into an 
arrangement, by which my quondam blacksmith, who married a 
sister of Cain, was elevated to the dignity of prince George's 
premier ! 

Both these scamps, with a troop of their followers, planted 
themselves on my premises near the beach, and immediately let 
me understand that they were my sworn enemies. Cain could 
not pardon the aid I gave to Fana-Toro in his earlier conflicts, 
nor would the renegade colonist forsake his kinsman or the 
African barbarism, into which he had relapsed. 






TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 445 

By degrees, these varlets, whom I was unable, in my crippled 
condition, to dislodge, obtained the ears of the British command- 
ers, and poured into them every falsehood that could kindle 
their ire. The Spanish factory of Fana-Toro's agent was reported 

to be mine. The shipment in the A. and the adventure 

of her boat, were said to be mine. Another suspected clipper 
was declared to be mine. These, and a hundred lies of equal 
baseness, were adroitly purveyed to the squadron by the outlaws, 
and, in less than a month, my fame was as black as the skin of 
my traducers. Still, even at this distant day, I may challenge 
my worst enemy on the coast to prove that I participated, after 
1839, in the purchase of a single slave for transportation beyond 
the sea ! 

From the moment that the first dwelling was erected at New 
Florence, I carefully enforced the most rigid decorum between 
the sexes throughout my jurisdiction. It was the boast of our 
friends at Cape Palmas and Monrovia, that my grounds were 
free from the debauchery, which, elsewhere in Africa, was un- 
happily too common. I have had the honor to entertain at my 
table at Cape Mount, not only the ordinary traders of the coast, 
but commodores of French squadrons, commanders of British 
and American cruisers, governors of colonies, white and colored 
missionaries, as well as innumerable merchants of the first re- 
spectability, and I have yet to meet the first of them, in any part 
of the world, who can redden my cheek with a blush. 

But such was not the case at the Cape after Cain and Curtis 
became the pets of the cruisers, and converted the beach into a 
brothel/ 

^ I have spoken of visits and appeals from missionaries, and will here in- 
sert a letter of introduction, which I received by the hands of the Reverend 
Mr. Williams, whilst I inhabited Cape Mount. Mr. Williams had been a for- 
mer governor of Liberia, and was deputed to Cape Mount by the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Mission, in Liberia. 

•"Dear Sir: 

"This will be handed you by the Rev. A. D. Williams, a 
minister of the M. E. Church, with whom you are so well acquainted that I 
hardly need introduce him. It is a matter of regret that I am so situated 



446 CAPTAIN CANOT ; OR, 

After a brief sojourn at my quarters to repair " The Chan- 
cellor," in which I had come with a cargo from the United 
States, I hastened towards Gallinas to dispose of our merchan- 

as to be unable to accompany Mr, Williams to Cape Mount. It would have 
afforded me pleasure to visit your establishment, and it might have facilitated 
our mission operations, could I have done so. Allow me, however, to be- 
speak for Mr. Williams your attention and patronage, both of which you 
have, in conversation, so kindly promised. 

" Our object is to elevate the natives of Cape Mount ; to establish a 
school for children; to have divine service regularly performed on the Sab- 
bath ; and thus to endeavor to introduce among the people a knowledge of 
the only wise and true God and the blessings of Christianity. Such is the 
immense influence you have over the Cape Mount people, in consequence 
of your large territorial possessions, that a great deal of the success of our 
eiforts will depend on you. 

" To your endeavors, then, for our prosperity, we look very anxiously. 
In the course of a few months, should circumstances warrant the expense, 
I intend to erect suitable buildings for divine service, and for the occupa- 
tion of the missionary and his family. In this case, we shall have to intrude 
on your land for building room. I shall endeavor to visit Cape Mount as 
soon as possible. 

" I remain, my dear sir, 

' ' Yours truly, 

" John Seys. 
" To Theodoke Caxot, Esq., 
" Cape MounV 

It would have afforded me sincere' pleasure to gratify Messrs. Williams 
and Seys, but, unluckily", they had chosen the worst time imaginable for the 
establishment of a mission and school. The country was ravaged by war, 
and the towns were depopulated. The passions of the tribes were at their 
height. Still, as I had promised my co-operation, I introduced the Rev. 
Mr. Williams to the king, who courteously told the missionary all the dan- 
gers and difficulties of his position, but promised, should the conflict speed- 
ily end, to send him notice, when a "book-man" would be received with 
pleasure. 

To give my reverend friend a proof of the scarcity of people in the towns, 
I sent messages to Toso, Panama and Sugarei, for the inhabitants to assem- 
ble at New Florence on the next Sunday, to hear " God's palabra," (as they 
call sacred instruction ;) but when the Sabbath came, the Rev. Mr. Wil- 
liams held forth to my clerk, mechanics and servants, alone ! 

I reported the mortifjnng failure to the Rev. Mr. Seys, and Mr, W. 
returned to Monrovia. 



TWENTY YEARS OF AN AFRICAN SLAVER. 447 

dise. "We had been already boarded by an American officer, 
who reported us to his superior as a regular merchantman ; yet, 
such were the malicious representations on the beach against the 
vessel and myself, that the Dolphin tarried a month at the an- 
chorage to watch our proceedings. "When I went to the old mart 
of Don Pedro, a cruiser dogged us ; when I sailed to leeward 
of Cape Palmas for oil and ivory, another took charge of our 
movements, — anchoring where we anchored, getting under way 
when vre did, and following us into every nook and corner. At 
Grand Buttoa, I took " The Chancellor" within a reef of rocks, 
and here I was left to proceed as I pleased, while the British 
cruiser returned to Cape Mount. 

The fifteenth of March, eighteen hundred and forty-seven, is 
scored in my calendar with black. It was on the morning of 
that day that the commander who escorted me so warily as far 
as Buttoa, landed a lieutenant and sailors at New Florence, and 
unceremoniously proceeded to search my premises for slaves. 
As none were found, the valiant captors seized a couple of hand- 
cuffs, like those in use every where to secure refractory seamen, 
and carried them on board to their commander. Next day, sev- 
eral boats, with marines and sailors, led by a British captain 
and lieutenant, landed about noon, and, without notice, provoca- 
tion, or even allowing my clerk to save his raiment, set fire to my 
brigantine, store-houses, and dwelling. 

As I was absent, I cannot vouch for every incident of this 
transaction, but I have the utmost confidence in the circum- 
stantial narrative which my agent, Mr. Horace Smith, soon after 
prepared under oath at Monrovia. The marines and Kroomen 
were permitted to plunder at will. Cain and Curtis revelled 
in the task of philanthropic destruction. "While the sailors 
burnt my houses, these miscreants and their adherents devoted 
themselves to the ruin of my garden, fruit trees, plantations, and 
waterworks. My cattle, even, were stolen, to be sold to the 
squadron ; and, ere night. New Florence was a smouldering heap ! 



448 CAPTAIN CANOT. 

I would gladly have turned the last leaf of this book without 
a murmur, had not this wanton outrage been perpetrated, not 
only while I was abroad, but without a shadow of justice. To 
this hour, I am ignorant of any lawful cause, or of any thing but 
suspicion, that may be alleged in palliation of the high-handed 
wrong. Not a line or word was left, whereby I could trace a 
pretext for my ruin. 

Three days after the catastrophe, my ancient ally of Toso 
paid the debt of nature. In a month, his tribes awoke from 
their stupor with one of those fiery spasms that are not uncom- 
mon in Africa, and, missing their " white man " and his mer- 
chandise, rose in a mass, and, without a word of warning, sacri- 
ficed the twin varlets of the beach and restored their lawful 
prince. 



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which she has used to excellent purpose." — Southern Literary Messenger. 

"Lady Georgiana Fullerton's first appearance as a novelist rendered her famous at 
•nee. Ellen Middleton, her first production, was a powerfully constructed story, manl" 
fc»(ing great ability in the author, which Grantley Manor fully confirms. "We conanend 
the book most cordially."— ^i'e?*tngr Mirror. 

" The book is an excellent one, and the Lady Georgiana's style is admlrablo. It It 
dear, concise, glowing, and lady-liko. Her dialogue and narrative .ikewise Bb'*w x^M? 
^UI in perception aud arrangement."— P/iiiacf£^j?A/a Enquirer. 



D. ApjMon (h Company's Publications. 



Now Reach/, the Tenth Thousand. 

THE LOFTY AND THE LOWLY; 

OB, GOOD IN ALL, AND NONE ALL-GOOD 

aJtt Muk 3. 3Hr3ntas!f, 

Author of "Two Lives," "Charms and Counter-Charms," "Evenings aT 

Donaldson Manor," etc., etc. 

2 vols. 12mo. Paper covers, Si ; cloth, $1 50. 

*** J^'V^, *^ its varied relations at the North and the South, is the theme of (hia 
work. In its graphic delineations uf character, truthfulness of representation, and 
etirring realities of life, it will hardly give place to " Uncle Tom's Cabin.'" The 
authoress is well known to the public /y Iter many charming works of Ration, and 
her life has been passed at the North and South. The nobleness of her sentiments, 
her elevated and candid views, her genuine feelings of humanity, and the elegance 
and eloquence oflierpen, are brought out in these pages with their full brilliancy 
and effect. 

A FEW CRITICISMS OF THE PRESS. 

"As to its 1 terary mer.'cs, we can honestly commend it as a charming story, and fof 
Its moral influence, we think the admirers of Uncle Tom's Cabin will not find their 
dislike of slavery greatly lessened by its perusal, while they may be persuaded to cherish 
a kindlier feeling tcward those whose lot is cast amid the institutions of the Sonth."- 
Cincinnati Magazine. 

" It is a book of great interest, written in a candid, truthful spirit — the arrangement 
of the plot and incidents is skilful, and the work abounds in passages of great pathos and 
of tiirilling i terest." — Boston Journal. 

'■A good book, commendable in spirit and creditable in execution — it will make it« 
V ay in public favor, and ^^'in for its accomplished author the commendation of all dia 
passionate readers." — Daily Times. 

"Written in a most admirable tone, and with manifest sincerity." — Troy Wiig. 

"■ Miss Mcintosh will certainly find a host of very earnest admirers of the 'Lofty an^ 
the Lowly." — Tribune. 

" Her sketches of character and incidents show that she is perfectly familiar with the 
ground upon which she treads." — Journal. 

" We assure our readers they will arise from the perusal of these pages impressed 
frith the important lesson they contain."— G^^ase^fe. 

" The characters are depicted with force and clearness."— P.WZa^ZeZp^ia Inquirer. 

"The most eagerncvel reader will find himself satisfied with the novelty of incideLti 
with which this book is Q\\eo.''^—C harlef^ton Gazette. 

♦' Written with a great refinement of k^Mn^.'"— Reading Gazette. 

"The book throughout exhibits great dramatic power, fine knowledge of cbaractai 
uid unusual command of language." — Buffalo Com. Advertiser. 

"It places Miss Mcintosh in the front rank of American Novelists."— ITifioci G*vt. 

*• We cordially recommend this noble romance."' — Ontario Repository. 



CHOICE NEW WORKS OF FICTION 
PUBLISHED BY I). APPLET ON k (10 

BATiL; 

A STOR^ OF MOJ3ERN LIFE. 

By W. WILKIE COLLINS, 

Adtbcr of " Antonina," etc., etc. One vol 12ttio Paper cover, 50c. ; Clotli, TStt, 

" Basil" is eminently an original work, in plan and execution, aud not I 
1^ ire copy of the modern novel. It is strongly marked by the genius ol 
Ltj author — a genius which is greatly indebted to ripe scholarship and to 
mvst laborious painstaking, in whatever it attempts to accompUsh : and ia 
thwefore, ifibr nothing else, worthy of recognition. Should this work fail 
of |jopularity, it will net be for its unworthiness, but for its unusual excel- 
lence, as a work of art. There is nothing meretricious about it." — Albany 
Bkeuing Journal. 

" No one who reads this work but will pay his tribute to its excellence. 
He has given us in prose fiction the poetry of every-ciay truth, and made a 
brilHant romance which even in this age of book-naking, will live. No 
reader will ever confound the eloquent writer with " the mob of gentlemen 
who write at ease." — JUazional Intelligencer. 

"The interest and beauty of fiction are strikingly blended with the re- 
alities of modern life, in this new work of Mr. Collins : and whotlier we 
regard the happy manner in wliich the author has sustained throughout th« 
plot of his tale, or the elegant style in which the pubhshers, Messrs. Apple- 
ton & Co., have presented the volume to the American reader, we equally 
recommend it." — Boston Times. 



REUBEN MEDLICOTT; 

OK, THE COMING MAN. 
By M. W. SAVAGE, ESQ. 

AUTHOR OF "the H/vOHELOR OF ALBANY," " MY UNCLE THE CURATE," BTO. 

One vol. 12mo. pp. 443. Paper, 50c.: Cloth, 75c. 

" A most enterlnining story by the author of the Bachelor of Albany 
[t is full of life and character, and is written sensibly, humorously, and often 
•atirically."— iV. Y. Courier. 

"The story is wall told, and the moral a most instructive one." — Dail'y 
Standard. 

" The narrative is i sonarkably lively and amusing, and the varied char 
oters are depicted in a graphic and sparkling manner."— C^r. Messenger. 

"The story is very hkufuUy and yet naturally wrought out, and ho will 
06 a fortunate reader who does not find parts of it bearing closely upon pa»- 
iages in his own life." — Aohany Register. 

"A satirical novel, written in a style of high art aud careless careftilneM 
rnrely excelled. We have s,jin iiothing more lively, polished and piquuil 
foT many a day."— i\'. Y. Post. 

" It ifi written in a dazzling aud joyous styie, which certainly reoom- 
wends it."— 7>'r)j, Whig. 



D. APPLETON (Jt CO MP ANTS PUBLICATIONS. 

The Great Work on Russia. 

Fifth Edition now read7. 



RUSSIA AS IT IS. 

By Count A. de Gurowski. 

One noat volume 12mo., pp. 32S, well printed. Price $1, cloth. 

CONTENTS. — Preface. — Introduction. — Czarism : its historical origin — The 
Czar Nichohis. — The Organization of the Government. — The Army and 
Navy. — The Nobility. — The Clerg}^ — The Bourgeoisie — The Cossacks.- 
The Real People, the Peasantry. — The Rights of Aliens and Strangers. 
— The Commoner. — Emancipation. — Manifest Destiny. — Appendix. — 
The Amazons. — The Fourteen Classes of the Russian Public Service ; or, 
the Tschins.— The Political Testament of Peter the G reat.— Extract 
from an Old Chronicle. 



Notices of the Press. 



" The author takes no superficial, empirical view of his subject, but collecting a ricii 
variety of facts, brings the lights of a profound philosophy to tlieir explanation. ITis work, 
fndeeM. neglects no essential detail — it is minute and accurate in its statistics — it abounds 
in lively pictures of society, manners and character. * * Whoever wishes to obtain an 
accurate notion of the internal condition of Russia, the nature and extent of her resources, 
and the practical influence of her institutions, will here find better materials for his pur- 
pose than in any single volume now extant." — N. Y. Tribune. 

"Tliis is a powerfully-written book, and will prove of vast service to every one who 
desires to comprehend the real nature and bearings of the great contest in which Russia is 
now engaged." — N. Y. Courier. 

" It is original in its conclusions ; it is striking in its revelations. Numerous as are the 
volumes tlia; have been written about Russia, we really hitherto have known little of thai 
immense territory— of that numerous people. Count Gurowski's work sheds a light which 
at this time is most welcome and satisfactory." — N. Y. Times. 

"The book is well written, and as might be expected in a work by a writer so unu- 
sually conversant with all sides of Russian affairs, it contains so nmch important Information 
respecting the Russian people, their government and religion." — Com. Advertiser. 

"This is a valuable work, explainingin a very satisfactory manner the internal conditions 
of the Russian people, and the construction of their political society. The institutions of 
Russia are presented as they exist in reality, and as they are determined by existing and 
obligatory laws.'" — N. Y. Herald. 

" A hasty glance over this handsome volume has satisfied us that it is one worthy of 
general perusal. * * * It is full of valuable historical information, with very interest- 
ing accounts of the various classes among the Russian people, their condition and aspi- 
rations."— iV. Y. Sun. 

"This is a volume that can hardly fail to attract very general attention, and command & 
wide sale in view of the present juncture of European affairs, and the prominent part 
therein which Russia is to play." — Utica Gazette. 

" A timely book. It will be found all that it professes to be, though some may be start 
led at some of its conclusions." — Boston Atlas. 

"This is one of the best of all the books caused by the present excitement in relation to 
Russia. It is a very able publication — one that will do much to destroy the general belief 
In the infallibility of Russia. The writer shows himself master of his subject, and treats of 
the internal condition of Russia, her institutions aud custom.s, society, laws, &c., in an en- 
lightened and scholarly manner." — Cit^ Item. 



New Copyrig^ht Works, Adapted for Popular Reading. 

JUST PUBLISHED. 

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I. 

PERSOI^AL NARRATIYE OF EXPLOEA- 

TIONS AND INCIDENTS IN TEXAS, NEW MEXICO, CALIFOR. 
NIA, SONORA, AND CHIHUAHUA, CONNECTED "WITH THE 
MEXICAN BOUNDART COMMISSION, DURING THE YEARS 1850 
'61, '62, and oa 

BY JOHN RUSSELL BARTLETT, 

United States Commissioner during that period. 
In 2 vols. 8vo, of nearly 600 pages each, printed with large 
type and on extra fine paper, to be illustrated with nearly 100 
wood-cuts, sixteen tinted lithographs and a beautiful map, 
engraved on steel, of the extensive regions traversed. Price, $5. 

AFRICA AWD THE AMERICAIS' FLAG. 

BY ANDREW H. FOOTE, 

Lieutenant Commanding the U. S. Brig Porpoise, on the Coa^t of 

Africa, 18ol-'53. 

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IIL 

CAPT. CAIS^OT; or, TWENTY YEARS OF A 

SLAVER'S LIFE. 

EDITED BY BRANTZ MAYER. 

"With numerous illustrations. One vol. 1 2mo, cloth, 

RUSSIA AS IT IS. 

BT THE COUNT DE GUR0W8KI. 

One vol. 12mo, cloth. 

TEMPEST AND SUNSHINE; or, LIFE m 

KENTUCKY. 

BY MRS. MARY J. HOLMES. 

One vol. 12mo, paper cover or cloth. 

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A TALE BY CAROLINE THOMAS. 

One vol. 12mo, paper cover or cloth. 
•** Excels in interest, and is quite equal in its delineation of character Uk 
The Wide, Wide World." 

VII. 

THE HIYE OF THE BEE HUNTER. 

BY T. B. THORPE. 

With several illustrations. One vol. 12mo, cloth. 



I 



Dumas's last and best Book. 

D. APPLETON & COMPANY, 

HAVE JUST READY THE FIFTH THOUSAND OF 

THE FORESTERS. 

BY ALEX. DUMAS. 
TRANSLATED FROM THE AUTHOR 's ORIGINAL MBS. 

1 neat vol. 12mo. in paper, 50 cents ; cloth, 75 cents. 



CONTENTS.— To my Daughter. —The New House on the Road to Soissona. 
— Mathieu Goguelue. — A Bird of Evil Omen. — Catherine Blun, — The 
Parisian. — Jealousy. — Father and Mother. — The Return. — Mademoiselle 
Euphrosinc Raisin. — Love's Young Dream. — The Abbe Gregoire. — 
Father and Son. — The Village Fete. — A Snake in the Grass. — Tempta- 
tion and Crime. — The Ranger's Home. — Apprehension. — The Book of 
the Innocent. — Mathieu's Trial. 



Notices of the Press. 

''A lively story of love, jealousy, and intrigue."— W. Y. Com. Advertiser. 

" Another proof of Dumas's unrivalled talent." — Jfiddleiown Sentinel. 

''The tale is a simple one, but exciting and interesting. The scene is laid in Villere- 
CX- erets in France. The reputation of the author is so firmly established, that in our 
8t* !ng that the translation is a faithful one, our readers who are novel readers will have 
heafd sufficient." — Phila. Regvster. 

" A capital story. The reader will find the interest increase to the end.'" — Phila. Gaz. 

"The present volume fully sustains the high reputation of its author; it shows a very 
high order of genius. The translation is such perfectly good English, that we easily forget 
that we arc not reading the work in the language in which it was originally written." — 
Albany Argus. 

" A short, but stirring romance."— ^osfon. Atlas. 

"This work of Dumas's is an interesting one. The plot is well laid, and the incidents 
hurry on, one after another, so rapidly that the interest is kept up to the dose." — Hartford 
Cournnt. 

" It is a capital story, and an unmistakable Dumas's work. To say this, is to bestow upon 
it sufficient praise." — Troy Times. 

"This new story of Dumas will afford a delightful resource for a leisure hour."— 7%« 
Bizarre. 

"This very entertaining novel is indubitably one of Dumas's best efforts: it cannot fail to 
become widely popular." — N. Y. Courier. 

" A pleasing, romantic love story, written with the author's usual vigor."— JT^cor* Adv» 

" A quiet domestic tale that must charm all readers." — Syracuse Daily. 

" This is a lively story of love, jealousy and intrigue, in a French village." — Phila. Daily 
Times. 

" The fame of the author will alone secure a wide circulation for this book. He is on« 
of the best novel writers living. 'The Foresters' fully sustains his great reputation."— 
Troy Daily Times. 

"This exceedingly entertaining novel is from the pen of one of the most eminent and 
celebrated of Modern French novelists— Alexander Dumas."— ^in^^amptoTi Republican. 

" This production of the celebrated author, is written in the same masterly style for 
•which all his works are noted." — Hartford Times. 

" The Foresters, as a work by itself, is one of many charms. That the book will b« 
eagerly sought after, there can be no doubt. That every reader will admire It is none tiie 
less certain."— ^w/aZ<9 Morning Express. 

" It will be found an interesting story." — Arthur''s Home Gazette. 

" The plot is extremely pleasing, and the book must meet with a ready and extensiv* 
tt^Q.^—Sj/rucuae Daily. 



B. APPLETON dt CO:S PUBLICATIONS. 



A BOOK FOR EVERY CHRISTIAN FAMILY. 



The Hearth-Stone ; 

THOUGHTS UPON HOME LIFE IN OUR CITIES. 

BY 

SAMUEL OSGOOD, 

Author of " Studies in Christian Biography," " God with Men," etc 
1 vol. 12mo. cloth. Price $L 



CRinCISMS OF THE PRESS. 

"This is a volume of eloquent and impressive essays on the domestic relations and the 
religious duties of the household. Mr, Osgood writes on these interesting themes in the 
most charming and animated style, winning the reader's judgment rather than coercing 
it to the author's conclusions. The predominant sentiments in the book are purity, sin- 
cerity, and love. A more delightful volume has rarely been published, and we trust it will 
have a wide circulation, for its influence must be salutary upon both old and young."— Com- 
mercial Advertiser. 

" The ' Ilearth-Stone' is the symbol of all those delightful truths which Mr. Osgood 
here connects with it. In a free and graceful style, varying from deep solemnity to the most 
genial and lively tone, as befits his range of subjects, he gives attention to wise thoughts on 
holy things, and homely truths. His volume will find many warm hearts to which it wiU 
address itself.'^— Christian Examiner. 

" The author of this volume passes through a large circle of subjects, all of them con- 
nected with domestic life as it exists in large towns. The ties of relationship — the female 
character as developed in the true province and empire of woman, domestic life, the edu- 
cation of children, and the training them to habits of reverence— the treatment of those 
of our households whose lot in life is humbler than ours— the cultivation of a contented 
mind — the habitual practice of devotion — these and various kindred topics furnish ample 
matter for touching reflections and wholesome counsels. The spirit of the book is fervently 
religious, and though no special pains are taken to avoid topics on which religions men 
differ, it ' breathes a kindly spirit above the reach of sect or party.' The author is now 
numbered among the popular preachers of the metropolis, and those who have listened 
to his spoken, will not be disappointed with his written, eloquence." — Evening Post. 

"A household book, treating of the domestic relations, the deportment, afl'ections, and 
duties which belong to the well ordered Christian family. Manly advice and good sense 
are exhibited in an earnest and affectionate tone, and not without tenderness and truthful 
sentiment; while withal a Christian view is taken of the serious responsibility which attends 
the performance of the duties of husband and wife, parent and child, sister and brother. 
"We are particularly pleased with the real practical wisdom, combined with the knowledge 
of human nature, which renders this volume deserving of careful study by those who de- 
sire to make their homes happy."— A'iftD York Churchman, 



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